Fire and rescue services in England could be brought under the control of elected police and crime commissioners, Home Secretary says

Fire and rescue services in England could in future be brought under the control of elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Fire and rescue services in England could in future be brought under the control of elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Following the first stage of a two-part review into the role of PCCs, Ms Patel said she was putting forward a series of proposals to make them more accountable to the communities they serve.

They include a requirement to explain their record on crime to the public while taking steps to strengthen their relationship with their chief constable and police force.

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Ms Patel said she also wanted to change the voting system for PCCs to the first-past-the-post system used in Westminster elections, making it easier for the public to vote out those who fail to deliver on their promises.

At the same time, she said the review found strong support for the Government's ambition to increase the accountability of fire and rescue services through a directly elected official.

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"Police and crime commissioners play a crucial role as the elected voice of the people for crime and policing, which is why I am committed to ensuring they are accountable to the communities they serve and are strong, visible leaders in the fight against crime," Ms Patel said.

"These recommendations, once implemented, will strengthen and potentially extend the role of PCCs and help them deliver the safer streets that the British public deserve."

South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings has welcomed the review.

Dr Billings who became a voting member of the Fire and Rescue Authority in 2017 and commissioned an appraisal of what benefits might follow should PCCs be asked to take on fire governance the following year, said: "I believe the public want to see the two emergency services work closely together and what we are already doing in South Yorkshire puts us in a good place whatever we are asked to do in the future."