HOT under the collar Warwicskhire Police chief Ron Ball is demanding an apology from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
The Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner criticised an FBU publication which implied he wanted to the power to take over responsibility for fire and rescue services in the county. He has called on the general secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack, to apologise for misrepresenting his views.
Mr Ball said: “My position concerning my office taking over governance of the fire service in Warwickshire could not be clearer.
“I issued a press statement in September under the heading ‘PCC has no desire to take on responsibility for fire and rescue services’. I have also made a number of public statements to that effect. My position has not changed.
“It is therefore with some dismay that I read the glossy brochure produced by the FBU in response to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review which claims that I have sought to associate myself with the “parochial, maverick-driven” schemes where PCCs would take over the governance of their local fire service.
“That is the opposite of the truth as is made abundantly clear in my statement in September. I am astonished that an organisation of the standing of the FBU could make such a basic error. It has caused me a deal of extra work in reassuring people locally that my position has not changed. A recognition of that fact from the FBU would be appreciated.”
Only last week Mr Wrack expressed concerns over the possibility of police and crime commissioners taking control of fire and rescue services.
He added: “Anyone who thinks firefighters’ neutrality will not be compromised by police commissioners is living in cloud cuckoo land.”
* MR Ball welcomed the latest report on police efficiency by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which rated Warwickshire Police as ‘good’ and singled out the force’s alliance with West Mercia Police for particular praise.