Staffordshire appoints new Chief Fire Officer

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has announced the appointment of the UK’s first-ever female Chief Fire Officer to have risen through the ranks.

Becci Bryant is the only woman in the UK to have achieved this prestigious position after beginning her career as an operational firefighter.

She will relinquish her current role as Executive Director/Deputy Chief Executive at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service on April 18 when she will officially replace the outgoing Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford.

Ms Bryant said: “It is a real honour and a privilege to have been appointed as Chief Fire Officer at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Like all Services, we have faced some significant challenges in the past few years and I have been lucky enough to be part of the transformation process that we have been going through. Over six years, we have not only managed to reduce the number of operational incidents by 33 per cent, we have also made huge strides in making efficiency savings.

“I firmly believe this is down to our emphasis on prevention and protection work within our communities, arming them with the knowledge and information they need to help keep themselves safe.

“This is an ethos that I will continue to develop when I take on the role of Chief Fire Officer. I am confident that the work that we have done so far in this area has put us in a strong position to face any future challenges head on.

“The fact that the Service has an extremely committed workforce, in terms of frontline firefighters, support staff and Fire and Rescue Authority members can only continue to enhance the safety of our communities. Our top priority is now, and always will be, to protect local people and prevent incidents occurring in the first place. It is a real honour to have been chosen to lead such a dedicated team of people who always have the best interests of residents at heart.

“I have gained a great deal of experience and understanding of local strengths, needs and vulnerabilities as well building positive relationships with partners during my time with the Service. I believe this has put me in good stead to take the helm and I am very much looking forward to embarking upon this extremely exciting opportunity.”

Current Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: “Becci thoroughly deserves this position and has proved herself time and time again to be a strong and capable leader. Her ambition, determination and ability to think one step ahead of the game have put her in the best possible position to lead the organisation towards an even safer future. I feel absolutely certain that I will be leaving the Service in the safest and most competent hands possible and I wish Becci all the best of luck in her new role.”

Ms Bryant has had a long and varied career since she joined the fire brigade in 1992. At the time, she was one of the first three female firefighters to enrol at Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service.

Whilst there, she took on the role of Leading Firefighter and then of Sub Officer.

After 10 years of dedicated service, Ms Bryant moved to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, where she worked within the Central Training Unit.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was the next promotion and in 2005 she joined as an Assistant Area Commander at Newcastle Fire Station before taking on the role of Area Commander at Tamworth.

In 2010, Ms Bryant took on the challenge of leading the Business Transformation Team at Headquarters where she implemented a host of innovative ideas to ensure that taxpayers continue to receive a first-class response, prevent and protect service that is excellent value for money, despite the economic climate.

Ms Bryant was then appointed as Director of Organisational Development where she led the joint fire control project between Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Fire Service.

She became the first woman in the country to have started her career as an operational firefighter to achieve the role of Executive Director/Deputy Chief Executive in January 2014.

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