13 June 2017
A Police and Crime Commissioner could take control of Hereford & Worcester and Shropshire Fire & Rescue Services, which would lead to both being disbanded.
West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner would replace 40 local authority councillors who currently oversee the two fire authorities.
If adopted, the change will go ahead from 2020 and it is estimated it will save £4million a year and drive closer working between the police and fire services.
However, local critics say the proposal could “jeopardise the performance of the fire services”.
A three month public consultation is being held.
John Campion, the current West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, who is proposing to take control of the fire services in his area, told the local media that "This proposal is about delivering the best long-term results for our communities and our emergency services.
"Our fire authorities have laid some good foundations, but it is clear that our communities are not getting the most effective, efficient services they could. That can only be achieved by making this change.
"By ensuring our police and fire services are collaborating and integrated as much as possible, we can deliver better emergency responses, improve prevention measures and increase information sharing between the services.
"It allows us to deliver necessary efficiencies but in a way that protects the frontline, rather than damaging it, which I think is a key priority for our communities.”
He continued: "Integration could not, and would not, come at the expense of standards of service."