- Gloucestershire County Council has announced it will begin the recruitment process for a new chief fire officer in September
- Following the resignation of the former chief, the current deputy chief fire officer is filling the post on a temporary basis
- Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl described it as a chance to create a new vision of collaboration between police and fire
- He said he would look again at recommendations made by a Home Office sponsored report for reform of how the fire service is governed
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has welcomed Gloucestershire County Council’s announcement that the search for a new chief fire officer will begin in September.
Mr. Surl said he looked forward to the appointment, which offered ‘exciting opportunities’ for closer collaboration and a new vision between the two emergency services.
Stewart Edgar resigned as Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s (GFRS) Chief Fire Officer, last month after the county council said a complaint had been made in relation to the disposal of a fire service vehicle.
Following Mr. Edgar’s resignation, Deputy Chief Fire officer Andy Hermiston is acting as temporary chief until a permanent appointment is made.
Mr. Surl said, “A new Chief Fire Officer is an exciting opportunity for a new start, new vision and potentially a new structure that will give Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue a really bright and exciting future.
“I enjoyed working with Stewart Edgar and was saddened as anyone by the circumstances around his departure. I was also disappointed that the County council’s policies and procedures and overall scrutiny allowed such a situation to occur.
“Now is not a time for dwelling on the past and I look forward to working with Stewart’s successor and building on the Tri Service foundations of joint working built many years ago. The council says the recruitment process for a new chief will begin next month”.
An independent report, sponsored by the Home Office last year, highlighted strong evidence the county would benefit greatly from reform to how GFRS is governed. Following opposition from councilors, Mr. Surl agreed to defer change, but only on the basis the council’s existing governance arrangements were sound and an assurance that progress would be made on closer collaboration between police and fire.
“Recent events have proved some of the grounds for the council’s opposition to change were misplaced. The report’s recommendations for greater scrutiny of governance have been justified which leads me to think the time is right to reconsider other opportunities for improved working and greater collaboration that are available”, he said.
“I welcome the chance to work with an experienced and visionary fire officer who understands the integrated role of the present-day fire fighter; who understands the impact they can make in the community and who shares a vision for a modern, collaborative approach that’s needed to keep our communities safe”.