MP fired with enthusiasm for expanded job role

MP Mike Penning

MP Mike Penning

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Hemel MP Mike Penning has been given extra responsibilities for the fire service after a government reshuffle.

Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that ministerial responsibility for the country’s fire and rescue services will move to the Home Office and come under Mr Penning’s portfolio.

His full title is now the Minister of State for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims.

The move is part of the government’s commitment to ‘closer working’ between the police and fire services, who already work alongside eachother at a local level across the country.

Mr Penning said: “As a former firefighter and now as policing minister, I know first-hand how well these services can work together.

“I have a huge respect for the men and women who work in our emergency services and I believe by working more closely together and reducing the costs of back office functions we can free up more time for front-line staff.

“This move will benefit both services and they will be able to learn best practice from each other, for instance police forces have undertaken major reforms over the past five years and the fire and rescue services have been very successful fire prevention work which will be a valuable source of reference for the police.”

The announcement was welcomed by Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.

Commissioner Lloyd, who also plays a key role in the National Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group, said: “There are many similarities between the work of the police and fire Services and opportunities for us to work more effectively together, which are currently being explored.

“The joining of these two portfolios together at ministerial level can only help that process further and it is something I warmly welcome.

“Mike Penning is a Hertfordshire MP and has been extremely supportive of the work we have done here.

“In addition, his personal experience within the fire service makes him an ideal candidate for the role.”