Herts PCC David Lloyd suspends plans to take over control of fire service
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:40 06 September 2018
The Herts Police and Crime Commissioner has suspended his business case to take over running of the fire service.
PCC David Lloyd had submitted his proposals to the Home Office this summer, which outlined plans to potentially close fire stations in WGC and Hatfield and fold them into a joint station at the police base in WGC.
The Hitchin-based North Herts police safer neighbourhood team would be moved to the town’s fire station, with the police station in College Road closed and merged into Letchworth police station.
Bishop’s Stortford and Buntingford police stations would also be shut and moved to “extended” fire stations in each town.
However, after signing a deal with the county council, Mr Lloyd has asked the Home Office to suspend his business case with the intention of withdrawing it after the details are finalised.
Herts County Council leader David Williams said: “I welcome this agreement between the emergency services to work more closely together.
“This decision provides clarity for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service so that we can continue to enhance practical, blue light collaboration.”
But as part of the agreement, the council has agreed to look into potentially co-locating the police and fire headquarters, as well as having a joint control room and training base.
Cllr Williams added: “We remain committed to seeking opportunities to improve the Fire and Rescue Service’s efficiency and cost effectiveness.
“This will include an assessment of the financial and operational benefits of co-locating police and Fire and Rescue services headquarters at Stanborough, Welwyn Garden City. and a joint control room.”
The agreement, known as a Memorandum of Understanding, involves setting up a new Hertfordshire Emergency Services Collaboration Board, which is designed to oversee the closer collaboration.
Notable parts of the deal include agreeing that governance should remain separate, having new “Community Safety Hubs” with shared facilities, and looking into a joint venture to manage public sector estates and properties.
The PCC said: “Whilst we would have liked a speedier resolution to the process, I believe this constructive step forward with the county council will bring about significant improvements to the way our emergency services work together.
“As a result of this, I’ve agreed to suspend my business case on the understanding we can make significant and speedy progress on exploring the objectives set out in the Memorandum of Understanding.”