Hertfordshire’s newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner has not ruled out a future bid to merge emergency services in the county.

At a recent meeting of Hertfordshire County Council, executive member for public health and community safety Cllr Morris Bright signalled his own view that the police and fire services in the county should remain separate.

Those remarks were made in response to a question – posed just weeks after Jonathan Ash-Edwards had been elected as the county’s new police and crime commissioner.

Following on from the meeting the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked for the new commissioner’s views on whether police and fire should merge.

Mr Ash-Edwards did not take the approach as an opportunity to rule the option in or out.

Instead he suggested they would have “to see what is said by the government following the general election about any future policy”.

“Having been recently elected, my priority is working to deliver my manifesto commitments and ensure Hertfordshire has the visible and responsive local policing that residents want to see,” he said in a statement issued to the LDRS.

“I have already launched a £1m operation to tackle hotspots of anti-social behaviour and serious violence, which will include extra high visibility patrols right across the county.

“The government has previously made fire governance an option available to PCCs, but we will have to see what is said by the government following the general election about any future policy.

“As a result, my current focus is on the role I have just been elected to undertake and working with the police to make Hertfordshire even safer.”

Back in 2017 the former police and crime commissioner David Lloyd had submitted a controversial bid to take over the control of the fire and rescue service from Hertfordshire County Council.

He had argued that bringing the two emergency services together would cut costs, enable better joint working and improve public safety

But he ‘suspended’ that application in 2018, after signing a formal agreement with the county council to look at ways the police and the fire service could work together.

At the latest meeting of the county council, on May 21, Cllr Bright had said that the two emergency services worked “in tandem” and “in parallel with each other”. But he said that there was “no need to merge”.

He referred to the close relationship between the blue light services in Hertfordshire – but also the different roles of the police and fire services, and highlighted recent inspections of the county’s fire and rescue service – as well as its reputation.