Home Office to take on responsibility for fire and rescue services

Emergency services will be encouraged to share back office functions under plans outlined by the Home Office

By John Ashmore

06 Jan 2016

The Home Office has assumed control of fire and rescue from the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of a plan for the service to work more closely with the police.

Ministers have called the move a a "radical transformation", with Police and Crime Commissioners taking responsibility for their local fire services.

Former firefighter Mike Penning will take on a new portfolio as minister for policing, fire, criminal justice and victims.

"This is about smarter working, reducing the cost of back office functions and freeing up the time of frontline staff," he said.

"This move will have benefits for both services. Fire authorities can learn from the journey that police forces have undertaken on reform over the last five years. Equally, the success of fire and rescue services in prevention holds important lessons for the police."

But the head of Fire Brigade Union hit out at the change, calling it "half baked". Matt Wrack said ministers seemed "intent on forcing it through" despite having no support for the plans from either police or fire officers.

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