Essex's first ever Police, Fire and Crime Comissioner starts his new role

Roger Hirst has officially taken on his new role as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, making him the first person in the country to hold this title.  Mr Hirst, who was elected to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex in May 2016, took on his new role as the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex on the October 1.  Although, he was unable to make it to the event marking his change of governance as he had a back injury, resulting in it being cancelled.

Mr Hirst said: “I am extremely honoured and very pleased to become this country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.  "It is a great opportunity for Essex and means the public can really benefit from a better coordinated approach between the two services.  By bringing the strategic direction of these two services together and enhancing the way they collaborate we will be able to deliver further improvements to keep the people of Essex safe."

Mr Hirst wants to ensure firefighters and police officers that their roles will remain the same but he also wants to esnure that the two services can work better together.  He added: “This isn’t going to be a revolution. A firefighter will remain a firefighter and a police constable will remain a police constable but there is a lot more we can do to align two services which are so important to the people of Essex.  We can focus our efforts to work together on prevention and making sure we can do all that we can to keep vulnerable people in our county safe.”

This change was approved after submitting a detailed business case to the Home Office after a period of local consultation.  He is the first PCC in the country to have received approval from the Home Secretary to take on the governance of the fire and rescue service in addition to his existing role with the police service.  He now replaces the members of the former Essex Fire Authority and will be responsible for having oversight of the fire and rescue service in Essex, setting its strategy and budget and holding the Chief Fire Officer to account.  High ranking officials from the police and fire services in Essex praised Mr Hirst.  Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: “I want to congratulate Roger Hirst on becoming the first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.  He will provide a single point of accountability to the fire and rescue service and be well placed to drive closer collaboration between the two services."

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Adam Eckley, said: “Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has undertaken significant reform in recent years to become one of the best-performing Services for preventing fires and other emergencies.  This change in our governance is a significant milestone in our transformation journey and an important and exciting step for us locally."

Essex Police’s Chief Constable, Stephen Kavanagh, said: “Firefighters and police officers share much more than a blue light. The work we’re doing with the fire service in Essex is exploring new areas where working together can make the county safer.  Police deal with much more than crime and firefighters much more than fire, so working together in a structured way is a sensible way of using very limited resources not only to respond to incidents but to try and prevent them.”

Source: Daily Gazette