1. ITV Report

Essex PCC to take over governance of fire service

Roger Hirst is to become the country's first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Essex's police and crime commissioner is to become the first in the country to oversee the fire service as well.

Roger Hirst launched a public consultation into the plans back in February and later submitted proposals to the government.

Today (Tuesday), the Home Secretary approved the bid - paving the way for him to become England's first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner from October 2017.

Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"The people of Essex deserve to have the best possible emergency services. By bringing together the governance of the Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service we can support closer working and make investment decisions that will bring even bigger benefits in the future."

– Roger Hirst, Essex PCC.

The government hopes the move will be the first of many around the country. Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire's PCCs have already launched consultations into plans to merge the two functions while Norfolk's commissioner has also expressed an interest.

Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd visited Essex's fire headquarters to mark the Home Secretary's announcement.

Police Minister Nick Hurd is introduced to one of the stars of Essex's dog unit. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"It's great to see Essex taking the lead in this field and bringing forward a proposal which has support from local authorities across the county and from many of the public.

"Having a directly accountable leader overseeing policing and fire will help both services enhance their effectiveness, maximise available resources, enhance local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to the local area."

– Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and Fire.

The government hopes combining the governance of the two services will encourage more collaboration among police forces and fire crews - including sharing more premises and back-office functions.