Image demonstrating Invitation remains open to PCC

Invitation remains open to PCC

Northumberland County Council has declined a request from Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Vera Baird to be co-opted onto the council.

Under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 a Commissioner may make a request of a fire and rescue authority to be permitted to attend, speak and vote at meetings of the authority in respect of items of business which relate to fire and rescue matters.

However after discussion of all political groups at full council, debate at the cross party scrutiny committee and consideration at Cabinet, members felt such a move would add “little or nothing” to the democratic process.

Council Leader Peter Jackson said: “The invitation remains open for Vera Baird to attend our non-political Scrutiny Committee, which includes a balance of all political groups, and explain any benefits to be gained from her proposal to the effective operation of our Fire and Rescue Service. It is acknowledged that their selfless work during the latest snow event was essential in reaching out to many vulnerable residents across our county.

“It is such a shame that she has decided to turn this into an openly political campaign against our County Council. She seems to have very little understanding of the close integration of services in Northumberland with the Fire and Rescue service always on hand to support communities during all kinds of emergencies. To treat them as some kind of political football is not a road that we are prepared to go down.

“We fully support partnership working between agencies, as was demonstrated so effectively during the recent spell of winter weather, and we are always open to new ways of working.

“There is already a great deal of day to day partnership working between Northumbria Police and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.  However we feel that greater collaborative working between the two services can be achieved by more effective and meaningful strategic and operational partnership working between the two services without the need for the Commissioner’s formal involvement as a co-opted member of the authority.

“Our view is that such a move would add little or nothing to the democratic accountability of either service.”
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