The Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s plans to take control of the county’s fire and rescue service have been opposed by a county council panel.

PCC David Lloyd is currently conducting a consultation on his plan to bring the governance of the fire and police services in Hertfordshire together.

READ MORE: Plans to bring fire service under police control reach next stage ​

However the county council’s all-party community safety and waste management cabinet panel has objected to the proposals, saying they are “not in the interests of public safety, economy, efficiency or effectiveness”.

Panel chairman Terry Hone, responsible for community safety, said: “Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is an integral part of the county council and is supported by efficient back-office arrangements shared with a range of other services, all of which deliver high quality services for our residents.

“The existing service is much more than just an emergency service, and having firefighters working closely alongside other council staff like social workers, public health specialists and trading standards makes a huge difference to keeping our residents healthy and safe.

“We do recognise that it’s important for emergency services to work together, so the recommendation the panel is making to cabinet is that the best option for the fire service would be for it to remain part of the county council, but with the PCC given a strong formal role in how it’s run.“

The panel is also recommending that, in order to improve collaboration between the emergency services, the PCC should be given a seat on the council’s cabinet where he would be able to play a strong role in the governance of the fire service without the disruption, uncertainty, risk and cost of transferring control. 

In response, Mr Lloyd said he was disappointed by the council’s considered objection to the proposal.

Borehamwood Times:

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd

He said: “I fully understand their concerns that the budget raised for the fire service may no longer be available to support some of the council’s other functions including social work and public health. 

“However, in the end I think it must be right that money raised to fund the fire service should be used to fund the fire service and not diverted into other areas of the county council.”

He also said that the council’s suggestion that he become part of the nine-person cabinet would give him “no real power”.

“PCC governance will greatly improve public accountability around the fire service and provide improved focus and prioritisation – which would be of real value,” he added. 

“At the next election the people of Hertfordshire will be presented with some substantial and specific choices about how they want to see their fire service developed and will get to vote on them. 

“This is in stark contrast to the recent county council elections where the future of the fire service hardly made it onto an agenda packed with other issues.”