Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has become a member of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority with full voting rights.

The Authority agreed to this after receiving a formal request from the Police and Crime Commissioner, something made possible by the Policing and Crime Act which became law in January.

Dr Billings said: “The Policing and Crime Act allows police and crime commissioners either to become a member of the Fire Authority or to take on full responsibility for them. At this stage I have decided to do the first.

“The intention is to ensure that there is much greater collaboration between police and fire services to make them more effective and efficient in serving the public.

“I have, therefore set up a joint steering group between Police and Fire to drive this partnership forward. Examples of how this will work include the new Maltby joint Police and Fire Station and the LIFE project.”

The Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE)  project is a joint fire and police team set up to reduce demand on 999 responders in Sheffield. Members of the team have visited hundreds of homes in the city, three months after it first launched. The team, also supported by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, is half way through a six month pilot which sees staff visit homes to reduce fire risk in properties, improve security and help people who have fallen. The team has also helped find two missing people and visited vulnerable people who have either been victims of crime or are at risk of anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Alice Cave, Chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Alice Cave, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Alan Billings as a member of the Fire and Rescue Authority. I’m sure he will provide a valuable contribution, and we look forward to working more collaboratively with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, and South Yorkshire Police for the benefit of the public of South Yorkshire”.