PROPOSED changes to the organisation of Cirencester’s police and fire services have been backed by the government.

Policing and Fire Services Minister, Nick Hurd MP, has given his support to plans for closer links between Gloucestershire’s blue light services, which could see the introduction of ‘tri-service centres’ in Cirencester and a joint police and fire station in Dursley.

The move is designed to foster closer collaboration between the two services and follows preliminary discussions between Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl and Nigel Moor, Gloucestershire County Council’s (GCC) member for fire, planning and infrastructure.

The tri-service centre is among the proposals in an 18-point plan put forward by the PCC for discussion with GCC which also includes shared fleet management, a joint control room, and an examination into sharing assets such as specialist equipment.

In a letter to the PCC, Mr Hurd said: “The government wants to see greater pace and ambition in emergency services collaboration and we are committed to supporting police and crime commissioners in seeking greater involvement in the governance of fire and rescue.

“I welcome the work you have done with PA Consulting and I am encouraged that the report has identified a number of benefits that could be driven by a change in governance of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, including areas such as estates, community safety and transparency”.

Mr Surl said: “The groundwork for some of the areas where we could work more closely together has already been done but not completed, like the tri-service centre which still has separate control rooms for both the police and fire. The workshops too are on the same site but operate under separate managements.

“We could also develop retained fire stations as emergency centres. This would improve visibility and help reduce feelings of isolation in rural communities.

“Some of the things I hope we can achieve through a closer relationship have already been done successfully in other parts of the country and I am encouraged by the county council’s desire for greater collaboration that will enable us to do just as well.

“But key to any future collaboration is a clear understanding of the financial parameters in which we work and that will require a budget paper which clarifies the fire precept along with the services’ medium-term fiscal plan. The equivalent for the Police is readily available.

“I hope it might also be possible to include the ambulance service in our planning at some stage too”.