Home Office takes over fire and rescue policy from DCLG

6 Jan 16

Responsibility for fire and rescue services has been shifted from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Home Office in order to further support collaboration with the police.

Police minister Mike Penning will take on responsibility for the portfolio, becoming minister for policing, fire, criminal justice and victims.

Penning said: “As a former firefighter and now minister for policing, I know from first-hand experience how well the police and fire service can work together.

“We believe that better joint working can strengthen the emergency services and deliver significant savings and benefits for the public. This is about smarter working, reducing the cost of back-office functions and freeing up the time of frontline staff.

“We are demonstrating at national level what we are asking emergency services to do at local level. As the minister responsible for both fire and policing, I will be looking to ensure that both services learn from best practice, wherever it is found.”

The minister added that the recent flooding has shown how well the police and fire services can work together.

Hertfordshire’s police and crime commissioner David Lloyd welcomed the change to Penning’s role, saying: “There are many similarities between the work of the police and fire services and opportunities for us to work more effectively together, which are currently being explored.  The joining of these two portfolios together at ministerial level can only help that process further.”

The shift in Penning’s focus necessitated some further changes to the division of responsibilities within the Home Office’s ministerial team.

Security minister John Hayes assumes responsibility for serious and organised crime, while Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, takes charge of drug and alcohol policy.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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