An agreement on the future collaboration arrangements between emergency services in Hertfordshire has been reached by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Hertfordshire County Council.
The formal arrangement means a number of principles which will strengthen joint working can now be pursued under the existing governance structure.
The next stage of the agreement will be to set up the Hertfordshire Emergency Services Collaboration Board, which will ensure the collaboration agreements can be delivered by all partners.
David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, said, “There are clear benefits to both police and fire having a strong and positive working relationship and this agreement between the two governing bodies will allow existing progress to accelerate.
“I want the best for police and fire services, and together with the county council, we recognise a number of important areas for collaboration which can improve efficiency, effectiveness and public safety.
“Whilst we would have liked a speedier resolution to the process, I believe this constructive step forward with the county council will bring about significant improvements to the way our emergency services work together.
“As a result of this, I’ve agreed to suspend my business case on the understanding we can make significant and speedy progress on exploring the objectives set out in the Memorandum of Understanding.”
David Williams, the Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said, “I welcome this agreement between the emergency services to work more closely together. This decision provides clarity for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service so that we can continue to enhance practical, blue light collaboration.
“We remain committed to seeking opportunities to improve the fire and rescue service’s efficiency and cost effectiveness. This will include an assessment of the financial and operational benefits of co-locating police and fire and rescue services headquarters at Stanborough, Welwyn Garden City and a joint control room.”
Both the county council and PCC have agreed to explore opportunities for further collaboration, including those presented through the next iteration of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s operational plan, known as the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). These include better use of estates, including co-locating police and fire headquarters, a joint control room and training base, shared use of drones and a better response structure in cases where both services are needed.