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Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s Response to Announcement Regarding Fire and Rescue Service Move to the Home Office

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority has responded positively to the announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron that central Government responsibility for fire and rescue services will transfer from the Department of Communities and Local Government to the Home Office. As part of the transfer, the Rt Honourable Mike Penning MP (Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice and Victims) will take responsibility for fire under his ministerial portfolio.

Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “We broadly welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement, which supports our ongoing commitment to work more closely with our colleagues in the police service. We view this transfer as a good opportunity to improve co-ordination in areas such as national resilience and interoperability, as well as our response to emergencies.

“This also builds on the collaboration that already exists, and further work that is being developed, between Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the other blue light services, including Thames Valley Police. For example, along with our colleagues in our neighbouring fire and rescue services, we recently signed a joint ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Thames Valley Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, focusing on sharing property and the co-location of police and fire and rescue services, wherever such arrangements will benefit the local community.

“However, as the transfer takes place over the coming months, we will seek clarity about arrangements for a range of matters, including transitioning policy, funding and the provision to meet national and local emergencies. We are particularly keen that key links with other organisations, which enable us to make an important wider social contribution, are not lost.

“In addition to our partnership work with Thames Valley Police, we will therefore continue to seek opportunities for collaboration with partners in other organisations, including the ambulance service, health organisations, local government and the voluntary sector wherever possible to ensure we deliver positive outcomes and provide the best possible service to the communities we serve.”