Fire Brigades Union against Cumbria PCC taking control of fire service

  • Published
Image caption,
Peter McCall was given approval by the Home Office to take over the service

A police boss approved to take control of a county fire service is being urged to reconsider the move by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall is set to take control of the county's fire service next April.

The FBU is urging Mr McCall to reconsider and said it fears the closure of fire stations.

Mr McCall said it made sense to bring the governance of police and fire services together.

Cumbria County Council currently has responsibility for the fire service, but is due to be abolished next year along with the existing city and borough councils.

This will make way for two unitary authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness.

The union called Mr McCall's proposal "disastrous" with the risk of three fire stations closing and the loss of 18 jobs, but the PCC called their objections "politically motivated", the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

FBU executive council member for the North West, Les Skarratts, said: "If the PCC still wishes to continue with this takeover, and even at this late stage we would ask him to reconsider, we will engage and attempt to progress the transfer without further detriment to our members or the public.

"The consultation held with the Cumbria communities showed that 54% of those responding wanted a democratically elected and accountable fire and rescue authority."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Cumbria County Council currently has responsibility for the service, but it is due to be abolished in 2023

Other options included the new councils gaining responsibility for the fire service in their area or the establishment of a new fire authority.

Mr McCall, who was given approval by the Home Office, will be the county's first police, fire and crime commissioner (PFCC).

He said: "The county council is being replaced by two unitary authorities and new potential legislation will require a nominated and elected individual to assume responsibility for fire governance.

"It makes sense to bring governance together with the office of the PCC which already carries out a similar function for policing."

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said: "Bringing both police and fire and rescue services under one democratically elected PFCC already carrying out a governance function makes absolute sense."

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