Northamptonshire has welcomed the launch of the Government’s consultation into the future of the emergency services.
Northamptonshire has been leading the way in integrating both the police force and the fire and rescue service, and has made significant progress in its journey to bring the two organisations into a single governance structure, thanks to the investment of £8.5 million pounds worth of transformation funding from the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government.
In 2013, the fire and rescue service’s senior management team moved into Wootton Hall Park to promote closer working arrangements between the two organisations. Shortly afterwards, the county’s first co-located police and fire station opened in Thrapston.
Since then the two organisations have continued their path to greater integration by merging teams between the two organisations, including the establishment of a Joint Operations Team and the Prevention and Community Protection department, both of which are now headed by senior fire and rescue service managers.
Pilot schemes have also been introduced, which have seen the two organisations co-responding to incidents together through the establishment of two Rural Intervention Vehicles (RIVs) and the Multi-Agency Incident Assessment Team (MIAT), which also includes the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
These arrangements have helped to make both the police and fire and rescue service more efficient and effective and there are a number of benefits these projects and others have brought to the communities they serve.
Adam Simmonds, Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “My ambition in bringing the two services together was to provide a better standard of service to the communities both these organisations serve.”
“That is the role of a PCC, to get better value for money and bring partners together where it makes sense to do so and we have demonstrated the value in further developing arrangements like these, between the emergency services. At present, legislation prevents this from happening and I welcome the Government consulting on proposals that will allow PCCs to have more control of the emergency services in their locality in the future.”
Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “Our growing role in co-responding to life-threatening medical emergencies in rural communities with EMAS is a great example of where the fire and rescue service has diversified to provide local communities with the local services they need.
“Through closer collaboration with the police we can further develop opportunities to change or adapt traditional ways of working in order to improve outcomes for people across Northamptonshire.”
Adrian Davis, interim head of service for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have demonstrated that we can adapt to changing demand amongst the emergency services. We have done a great job in managing down demand for our service over the last decade and we now work more closely than ever with both the police and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).”
“It is encouraging that the Government are taking steps that will give clear leadership and clarity that help to support the arrangements that we have been pursuing locally.”
Simon Edens, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police said: “It is an exciting opportunity for all of us working across the emergency services. The changes the Government are proposing will allow us to think very differently about the future of the emergency services, broaden the skills base further and improve the protection that we give to our communities.”