Hands Off Cornwall’s Fire & Rescue Service
Hands Off Cornwall’s Fire & Rescue Service will be my message to our local MP’s and Government, through a motion to Cornwall Full Council on 26 January 2016.
I am well known for my opposition to the role of Police and Crime Commissioners. I am determined that that Office, based in Exeter, will not get their hands on Cornwall’s high performing Fire and Rescue Service. The Government talks about Localism and has announced that it is devolving powers to Cornwall and then the Home Secretary announces a dogged commitment to a flawed plan to transfer Fire and Rescue Services to Police and Crime Commissioners. The problems, if this were imposed on Cornwall, are many fold and the biggest is that Fire Services in the South West do not cover the same geographical areas as Police and Crime Commissioners.
So, we have a Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and one for Avon and Somerset. There is a Fire and Rescue Service for Cornwall and one for the Isle of Scilly, each run by their Councils. There is then an independent Fire Authority across the counties of Devon and Somerset. So, which Police and Crime Commissioner would take responsibility for what, under The Home Secretary’s plans? Local people tell me that whenever we have to join forces with Devon, our resources disappear across the Tamar. I don’t believe the people of Cornwall want that!
I very much hope that all Councillors, of whatever Political persuasion, will support this motion for the Government to keep their hands off Cornwall’s Fire and Rescue Service. I think the safety of people living in Cornwall is too important to mess about with when the Fire and Rescue Service is neither broken nor in need of fixing! I think the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has a big enough problem on his hand trying to sort out the disastrous 101 non emergency phone system without needing to work out which Fire and Rescue Service should come under his wing.
Not linked to this motion but you might also be interested in Petition asking the Government to Scrap Police and Crime Commissioner elections.