Minister backs fire role for commissioners

Justice secretary Chris Grayling
Justice secretary Chris Grayling

Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioners should take responsibility for fire services to cut duplication and save taxpayers’ money, according to a senior Minister.

Chris Grayling welcomed existing moves by PCCs to co-ordinate the work of police and fire services but argued there was a case for going much further.

The Government has promised to change the law so police and crime commissioners can replace traditional fire authorities, made up of local councillors, in overseeing the work of the local fire service.

As part of Greater Manchester’s agreement with the Government to take over more control of its own affairs, the city’s new elected mayor will also become the police and crime commissioner for the area and take responsibility for the fire service.

Mr Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons, said the joining of police and crime commissioner and fire authorities was “very logical”.

He said: “One of the things [police and crime commissioner Matthew Grove] has done over in Humberside is to integrate the maintenance of police and fire vehicles.

“We’ve formed the view it is logical to create a situation where the police and crime commissioners can oversee both, you don’t have parallel authorities duplicating structures, duplicating resource.

“In the case of West Yorkshire, it’s conceivable in the future there could be a West Yorkshire mayor who is also the police and crime commissioner but that’s a matter for West Yorkshire to say that’s what we want rather than us at the centre saying that’s what’s going to happen.”

Mr Grayling was speaking as he campaigned with former Halifax police officer Allan Doherty, the Conservatives’ candidate in the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner election, who is challenging Labour incumbant Mark Burns-Williamson.

West Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner post will be contested on May 5, the same day as local elections.