MORETON could get a police station back as part of reforms to the way Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is governed if the advice of a report is followed.

An independent report, carried out as part of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 published says there is strong evidence the county would benefit from greater collaboration between police and fire services locally.

Police and crime commissioner Martin Surl is calling on Gloucestershire County Council to put past differences behind them and work together, claiming that fire stations such as Moreton could be converted into police and fire stations.

Moreton has been without a police station since it closed in 2011.

Mr Surl, who commissioned the report said: "The county council has made its opposition clear but I think this is too good an opportunity to miss and I urge them to think again.

“If ever a county was perfect for this reform, it’s Gloucestershire. How many fire stations are there around the county that are currently under-used and could be adapted as community police and fire stations?

“Tetbury, Moreton, Newent are just a few of the places that spring to mind. It would raise the profile of both services; in some places, people would get their local police stations back and it would also help tackle the issue of rural isolation.

"The report also shows areas where significant savings can be made, particularly through the joint use of buildings and I’m sure there would be money from the Government to help with the transition.

"I have been accused of empire building but I have kept an open mind from the beginning though as a PCC, I am keen to explore new ways of working within a multi-agency setting."

In March, Mr Surl launched a bid to takeover the fire service, which was opposed by the council, leading to him dropping his bid to takeover the service.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for Fire, commented: "I am pleased Martin has seen sense, and dropped this plan. The report identifies no long term savings, but significant transition costs– which is exactly the concerns that we had.

"It is a shame so much time and money has been waste to arrive at what we said from the start.

"We have always been keen to work with Gloucestershire Police to see how we can work together better and in fact we met with Martin to discuss that just last month.

"I don’t know why it took a £100k to suggest the idea of sharing fire stations with the police – we’ve been doing it with the ambulance services for several years and are very happy to look at more use.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, chairman of Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the PCC, said: "We already know Martin Surl got £100k of taxpayers’ money from the Home Office to produce this report.

"I hope he will publish the full costs of his plan, including the time cost for his deputy commissioner and other personal staff in pursuing it.

"Anyone could have told him this plan was a non-starter – it is hard to understand why he spent so much effort pursuing it. It has undermined partnership working, and Gloucestershire people deserve to know the full bill.”

The Conservatives on Gloucestershire Council group claim the report identifies no long-term savings options from transferring Fire to the PCC.

They claim that it does highlight some potential savings from closing police stations and moving them onto fire station premises – but governance change would not be needed for this.

SW Ambulance service has shared use of GFRS fire stations for a number of years.