Police officers should never be asked to perform tasks carried out by firefighters if a proposed merger between police and fire services in Gloucestershire goes ahead.

Sarah Johnson, Chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said any merger could be “problematic” if frontline roles in the two services were combined, due to the “very different skill sets”.

Gloucestershire PCC Martin Surl is currently investigating the possibility of taking control of the Gloucestershire Fire Service following comments by Policing and Fire Minister Brandon Lewis, who recommended consolidating control of the two services.

Sarah said Gloucestershire Police Federation was not against back-office co-operation, but opposed the idea of a complete merger.

She said:

“There are certain areas of the two services that can be looked at. There could be savings across the back office functions such as human resources, maybe finances. There is a commercial rationale for that and I can see how it could work.

“In terms of a merger, I think that would be problematic because a fire officer and the skills sets for police officers are very different – they’ve been employed to do very different things.

“To be asking and directing them to do the other role would not be right without an awful lot of thought to the people currently employed to do that. But I understand it’s not a merger that’s being looked at. They’re looking at the governance and oversight and still running separate services.”

Temporary Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen told Police Oracle:

“Consultants are now exploring the business case for greater collaboration, or not, and by the end of this calendar year our PCC Martin Surl will make a decision on that.

“For the time being it does not affect me, I have a mandate to lead the organisation for the next 12 months. This business case will say what it says and depending on what that is it may lead to some new opinions on leadership (for the PCC).

“In the meantime I have a job to do and I am going to get on with it. We have joint meetings every month and it is business as usual.”