Thursday, 2 June 2016

Conflict and the Fire Service!

Leading Conservative politicians have clashed over the future of fire service services in Sussex. the leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith has hit out at proposals by the recently re-elected Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Katy Bourne, to take over the responsibility for the entire region’s fire services. The Chichester West councillor marked out her opposition during a council meeting last week after receiving a letter from Ms Bourne. 

Councillor Louise Goldsmith

Ms Goldsmith has called on the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to visit the county to see the good work of firefighters in West Sussex. Whilst Ms Bourne has written to relevant bodies asking for their co-operation on the potential change.
Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans allowing PCCs to take over fire services in a money-saving move last year, and legislation for the proposals is currently going through Parliament, whilst the Home Secretary, speaking of the “continued need for reform” in a speech last week, outlined plans to invite PCCs to prepare bids to take on responsibility for fire and rescue services.  
Ms Goldsmith has asserted that she is “firmly of the view that we have an excellent model, one that I am extremely proud of and one that I would not want to see put at risk. I believe we deliver all of those things already and that we have achieved considerably more benefits in terms of integration with our other preventative, community safety and safeguarding services.” 
PCC Katy Bourne
Meanwhile, Ms Bourne has said “In the new Police and Crime Bill there will be a duty to collaborate between emergency services and a key part is for PCCs to consider whether to take on responsibility for fire and rescue where a local case is made.
The Home Secretary has publicly encouraged fire and rescue services, local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners to examine these opportunities and this is why I have written to interested parties seeking their co-operation in exploring all the options available to us.”
Conflict between senior Conservative figures in Sussex appears to be hotting up! See the BBC website for further information.

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