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‘No plans’ for Kent police and crime commissioner to take control of fire service

PUBLISHED: 11:54 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 26 July 2017

Matthew Scott at North Kent Police station

Matthew Scott at North Kent Police station

Archant

The Home Office this week approved a proposal from the Essex PCC to govern the county’s fire service

Claims Kent’s police and crime commissioner could also govern the county’s fire service have been quashed by police chiefs.

Matthew Scott was elected to the £85,000-a-year role last May, tasked with holding the chief constable to account, and ensuring the delivery of the force’s police and crime plan.

The PCC also handles the budget, can dictate the council tax precept and acts as the public-facing middle man between the public and the officers.

The Home Office this week approved a proposal from Roger Hirst, the commissioner in neighbouring Essex, to take on the area’s fire and rescue service, after the government introduced a range of measures in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, to to drive greater collaboration between emergency services, enabling them to share best practice and become more efficient.

As a result, there were whispers in some quarters that Mr Scott could also see his role expand, however, his office insisted there were “no plans” for such a move.

However, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told us he’d have liked to see it expand into Kent and beyond.

“On the face of it this sounds like a sensible idea,” he said.

“Budgets are tight across the whole public sector and if local services are looking for ways to integrate and be more efficient with taxpayers’ money, then that should be welcomed.”

After the move in Essex was approved on Tuesday, the government’s policing and fire minister, Nick Hurd, said: “Having a directly-accountable leader overseeing policing and fire will help both services enhance their effectiveness, maximise available resources, boost local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public.”

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