Fire and Rescue Services: Mergers

Home Office written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Conservative, Wyre Forest

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of not proceeding with the proposed merger of West Mercia Police Authority with Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Conservative, Wyre Forest

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that that the parties involved in the merger of the West Mercia Police Authority with Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Authority publish the (a) advice and (b) resources they provided to determine the potential merits of the merger.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

In July 2019, the High Court upheld the then Home Secretary’s (Amber Rudd MP) decision of March 2018 to transfer governance of Hereford and Worcester and Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Service to the PCC for West Mercia. The Court of appeal has refused permission for the FRAs to appeal the judgement

However, given the time that has passed and developments since the business case was originally submitted in October 2017, it is right that we reconsider whether the case still meets the statutory tests. The Minister for Crime and Policing has written to PCC John Campion to explain that we will require an updated business case.

It is for the PCC and Fire and Rescue Authorities to consider whether to publish information they hold relating to the proposal, although I am aware that some of this is currently available through their websites.

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