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Police and crime commissioner to decide on whether to consult on fire service future within the next month

PUBLISHED: 16:02 19 June 2018

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green (right) and OPCC chief executive Mark Stokes (left). Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green (right) and OPCC chief executive Mark Stokes (left). Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) is poised to decide whether to press forward with a possible takeover of the management of the county’s fire and rescue service.

The office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC) has been preparing a business case into whether Norfolk Fire and Rescue would be better governed by the PCC, which will be completed in the coming weeks.

This case will then be presented to Lorne Green – Norfolk’s PCC – who will decide whether a consultation should be held into the service’s future governance.

At a meeting of Norfolk’s police and crime panel, members were told the case is on track, with Mr Green’s decision due to be revealed at an extraordinary meeting next month.

Mark Stokes, OPCC chief executive, said: “In terms of process, we have to deliver a case that outlines all of the considerations there can be for the PCC.”

Mr Stokes said the case would be pinned on “three e’s” - economy, effectiveness and efficiency, along with assessing what option would most benefit the public’s safety.

When asked by county councillor Sarah Butikofer whether the view of the public would be taken account for in any potential consultation, Mr Stokes said it “absolutely would be”.

The business case is exploring a range of options for the fire service, include whether control of it should be moved to the OPCC or remain at County Hall.

And while there is no guarantee Mr Green will decide to consult on his office taking on the control, a petition has already been started by the Norfolk Fire Brigade Union against this possibility.

Mr Green told panel members he was “not engaging with the process” until the case had been presented to him by his office.

He said: “At this stage I do not know if there is even going to be a consultation.”

Mr Green is expected to make his decision on whether to take the case forward to consultation by the end of June, with the extraordinary meeting of the panel currently scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 19.

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