Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer announces retirement

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Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Graeme Smith has announced he is to retire in May 2013 after 30 years in the Fire and Rescue Service.

Graeme began his career at Cleveland County Fire Brigade in 1983. In 1991 he moved to Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service where he progressed through the ranks.

In 2000 Graeme was seconded to work in central government with Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate, where he was instrumental in a strategic review of the leadership of the service as well as inspecting local authority fire brigades.

Graeme re-joined Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service at the conclusion of his secondment, where in 2003 he was appointed to the position of Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

In 2005 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer. Graeme then joined Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service in October 2009 as Chief Fire Officer where he has been instrumental in reshaping the Service.

Reflecting on his career in the Fire and Rescue Service, Graeme Smith said: “I have had a long and enjoyable career and whilst I am sad to leave Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, I am confident that I am leaving the Service in a very strong position as it moves forward with its drive to continue to be one of the best performing authorities in the UK.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of my colleagues who have supported me during my time here in Warwickshire and who have shared my commitment to making Warwickshire a safer place.”

Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Richard Hobbs said: “We will be very sad to see Graeme go. He is a much

respected, highly dedicated and professional Chief Fire Officer. During his time with Warwickshire he has been responsible for a number of significant improvements to the Service. Improvement which have ensured that we are the best performing authority in the country when it comes to

reducing accidental fires in the home and reducing attendance to unwanted automatic fire alarms.

“Fires in commercial properties are also down and the economic cost of arson has been reduced by half a million since 2009/10. All of this is a real credit to the commitment and determination of the Chief Fire Officer and his colleagues, all of whom wish him a much deserved, long and happy retirement.”

Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Alan Farnell said: “Graeme has been an inspirational leader for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and on behalf of Warwickshire County Council and staff, I would like to thank him for his commitment during his time in the service. We really do wish him all the very best for the future and hope he enjoys his retirement.”

Andrew Hickmott, an Assistant Commissioner from London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority has been appointed as interim Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, whilst the process to find a new Chief Fire Officer is undertaken.