Ways in which Warwickshire’s emergency services can work more closely together and deliver an improved service to the public are being explored by a new advisory group, which has held its first meeting yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 6 December) at the Shire Hall in Warwick.
The Warwickshire Blue Light Collaboration Joint Advisory Board has been established to drive forward collaboration to enhance blue light services both within and outside the county, including the contribution they make to other areas like health and social care.
Comprising senior representatives from Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Warwickshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire (OPCC), the board will enable an opportunity for joint discussions on an informal basis in order to promote better understanding of the opportunities for collaboration which may be available.
While police and fire collaboration will be the initial focus for the board, it is hoped that it will expand in future to encompass opportunities to work more closely with the regional ambulance service. All blue light emergency services have a statutory duty to collaborate and to keep collaboration opportunities under review by the provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2017.
The board is purely advisory and any areas identified for further collaboration will need to be further developed and agreed in the normal way by the respective executive bodies for each organisation before any moves to implement them are made.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Rob Tromans, who is leading on emergency services collaboration for the OPCC and chairs the board, said: “It is vitally important that all emergency services continue to work closely together to deliver an enhanced, effective and efficient service for the public. While Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has ruled out seeking to take on fire governance locally at this time, by creating this Joint Advisory Group to examine blue light collaboration, collectively we can seek to build upon the existing good examples of joint working.
“Warwickshire has always had a very strong track record when it comes to partnership working and seeking out innovative ways of keeping the public safe and I hope this group will provide the catalyst for even more of that same good work.”
Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Community Safety, Warwickshire County Council, said: “Working in closer collaboration is key to further developing our strategy to make Warwickshire as safe as it can be. Our aim now is to embed all of the preparation that has gone into developing the key strategic aims of the group and I look forward to seeing how we work in closer collaboration to develop longer term solutions, which maximise the effectiveness of resources and delivery of services to make Warwickshire safer.”
Andy Hickmott, Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have for a number of years now been working in closer collaboration with both the Police and the Ambulance Service through sharing premises or working together to reduce the number of arson related incidents in the county. As part of the Joint Advisory Group we are now hoping to develop those partnerships to further improve the safety and well-being of Warwickshire communities.”
Chief Constable Martin Jelley from Warwickshire Police said: “As Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police I welcome the creation of the emergency services board which will enhance further the collaboration which already exists between emergency services in the county. All our Warwickshire emergency services are committed to keeping our residents safe and secure, so even closer working together should be welcomed.”