The government has asked Police and Crime Commissioners to consider the case for closer collaboration between the blue light services in their local area.
I believe there is the potential for real benefits for Essex. As a first phase, I will be exploring the options with Chief Officers of Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, and the Essex Fire Authority.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police have long and proud traditions of serving the public. They share the key objective of making our county a safer place.
But there are many opportunities for delivering a better, more effective, service through working closer together and sharing resources. This is already happening – though initiatives such as Parish Safety Volunteers, who work with communities in rural areas, to the Safer Essex Roads Partnership.
Both the police and the fire and rescue service are there to respond in emergencies but, just as importantly, to prevent emergencies happening in the first place.
By creating a more joined up infrastructure – support and enabling staff, transport, buildings, IT and communications – we may be able to do even more to prevent, protect, and respond.
To explore options for closer collaboration, we have created a strategic board whose members include Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley, Essex Police Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh and Essex Fire Authority Chair Tony Hedley. Over the next few months, a small team working to the strategic board will develop a business case, including options for governance of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police in collaborative work, as required by the draft legislation.
The prize is a big one: we want to provide the most effective Police and Fire and Rescue Services possible to keep the people of Essex safe.
As part of this process, we will ensure that we engage both the public and everyone who works for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, keeping them up to date with the development of this work.
Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex