MORE opposition has been put forward to a police chief's attempt to take over the running of the fire service.

Worcestershire County Council is the latest body to oppose the plan, launched by West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion.

The proposals are for the commissioner to take on the running of both Shropshire and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Services, leading to both authorities being disbanded.

He claimed the move would save £4 a million a year.

If given the go-ahead by the Home Secretary these changes would come into place in 2020, with communities having the chance to directly elect a local police, fire and crime commissioner.

But at the county council’s meeting, held at County Hall on September 14, councillors unanimously backed a substantive motion stating the proposals would not be in the interests of improving public safety or the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

The council will now send a letter to the PCC, for consideration as part of the consultation.

When the debate began, it quickly became apparent councillors were opposed.

Councillor Paul Middlebrough said it was not about personality, highlighting that if the previous police and crime commissioner had put forward similar proposals, it would have been met with similar opposition.

He said: “As the debate has developed over the last few weeks, I have heard no significant support for the proposals, a lot of anger, and somewhat opportunistic and unnecessary personal attacks on the commissioner.”

He pointed out the other consulted authorities had or were about to issue their opposition to the proposals.

He said there was still a "job-and-a-half" to be done to improve fire safety, but there were better ways of doing it than this proposal.

“Does the commissioner have the capacity to take on the changes, when there is a major police transformation programme being worked on?” he added.

Councillor Fran Oborski said: “Basically it (the business case) just did not stand up.

“There is no financial stability, there was no real evidence of exactly what would happen.

“On the £4 million proposed savings - it includes many savings already made. They are not even new savings."

Councillor Andrew Fry said simply it was a poor business case to put forward, with “gaps, holes, and lacking detail”.

West Mercia Police is implementing savings of £9.5 million this year with a further £21.9 million projected by the end of 2020/21.

Mr Campion argues that the changes would help meet these challenges.

After the meeting, Mr Campion said: “I am listening to views from our communities right across the West Mercia area as part of this consultation, and look forward to receiving the council’s response.”