The parliamentary committee for the Policing and Crime Bill heard from the leader of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that there is no appetite among firefighters or the public for a police takeover of the fire and rescue service. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, told the committee: “It’s no secret that we don’t support this shift….there is no appetite among firefighters and there is no public appetite for it."
"It begins to seriously blur the lines between the fire and rescue service and the police, and the people who perform those roles. We have grave concerns.”
The proposed move for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) is being seen said Wrack very much as a takeover largely because of the size of the police service compared to fire, while other members of the panel giving evidence went further and described it as a ‘hostile takeover’. Wrack added “the fire service is much smaller and it has a unique reputation. We are concerned about the funding as government will put pressure on fire.”
Wrack criticized the PCC model on the grounds of professionalism on the basis that they are elected to run police services and then subsequently may end up running the fire and rescue service. He added, “The fire and rescue service is a unique brand that has pioneered collaborative and preventative work. Anything that puts that at risk should be closely scrutinized.”