New Staffordshire Commissioner takes oath to both emergency services
The new Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams took the oath today to both services, officially marking the start of his three-year term in office. In a ceremony held at the joint base for Fire and Police in Hanley, Mr Adams formally took the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, following his victory last week, where he won against four other candidates with 55.71 per cent of the vote. The ceremony took place before a specially invited audience, which was smaller than usual due to covid considerations, but included Chief Constable Gareth Morgan and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber. It was also live streamed, so anyone could tune in, reflecting the Commissioner’s commitment to openness and transparency. Mr Adams said: ‘I am delighted to be formally starting my term as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire. A large proportion of the county have placed their trust in me and I hope to live up to their expectations over the next three years. ‘Our police and fire and rescue services are recognised as good by Her Majesty’s Inspectors and I can assure everyone working in the services that they are valued and have the support of residents and businesses across Staffordshire. ‘My task is to help the services to become excellent while delivering what people in Staffordshire want. They want to see more police out and about in our communities, they want a faster response to non-emergency calls and they want a rapid response to emergencies whether they live in our city, towns or countryside. ‘Over the last 18 months, I’ve also heard a lot about concerns for young people being exploited, dragged into the drugs trade and further into criminality. ‘People also want better contact with the services, particularly being able to speak to 101 quickly, getting feedback and being able to share their concerns about their communities. We can do better I think, and I’d like us to become one of the best in the country. ‘Staffordshire is a big place. We have a magnificent city, tremendous towns – but also 80% of the area is countryside with different needs and different challenges, requiring different responses from our police and fire and rescue services. ‘People need the reassurance that they will get the same quick service when they need it, no matter where they live or how isolated they feel. ‘We are entering a real period of change but there is an opportunity not just to demonstrate the benefits of bringing the services together, sharing resources and being stronger together, but also looking forward to what a modern 21stcentury fire service can be. ‘I think Staffordshire can be the model for that and we can carry the rest of the country with us, but we can’t do any of this without the help of our partners. ‘I aim to provide our services with the workforce, training, equipment and support that they need to keep Staffordshire safe.’ Mr Adams also took the opportunity to announce his Deputy Commissioner, Helen Fisher, whose appointment will be confirmed at the earliest opportunity by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. Helen Fisher lives in Stafford and is a former business woman, who started her working life as a musician. She has a varied political background having served for 12 years as a district councillor in Lichfield and as a county councillor for Burntwood South since 2017. She led on highways and transport with the county and took on several different portfolios at the district including communities, tourism and chairing the planning committee. The role of the Staffordshire Commissioner is to be the voice of the people and hold the police and fire and rescue services to account. They are responsible for commissioning effective support services for victims of crime and working with councils, health services, criminal justice and other authorities to help prevent crime, fires and accidents. There are 39 Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales, only four of which, including the Staffordshire Commissioner, are also Fire Commissioners. The term of office is usually four years, but will be three years this time, because of elections being delayed a year by the pandemic. The Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer are responsible for the day-to-day operations, but are accountable to the public via the Commissioner.