Four months ago the Home Office confirmed Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner would take responsibility for governance of fire and rescue and the new arrangements go live today.
The new role of Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime comes into existence today and in carrying it out Matthew Ellis will oversee Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in addition to police.
Mr Ellis said: "To all intents and purposes today is business as usual as far as fire operations are concerned.
"It’s important to understand this is not, and never has been, a merger of police and fire. Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will remain separate entities with separate budgets and staff.
"The only area where that will change significantly is developing a shared approach, as set out in the business case, to some support and administrative functions.
"Work is also underway to take forward initial ideas from the two services around how police and fire can work better together generally.
"The principles around this work are to find ways of ensuring more of the money available overall is allocated to both services for work in the heart of communities across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent."
In preparation for the transition, the Commissioner made it a priority to meet as many firefighters and fire and rescue service staff as possible over the last few months. He held ‘Straight Talk’ sessions to which everyone in the service was invited.
"I found the Straight Talk sessions fascinating and I’m grateful to everyone who attended. Not only were they enlightening, the honesty of all firefighters and fire and rescue staff was invaluable.
"The meetings I have had in preparation for the change with leaders of the service and senior officials, have also been helpful and I’m grateful for the time committed."
Mr Ellis thanked all councillors for their work over many years as members of the Fire and Rescue Authority.