Northamptonshire’s fire chief Darren Dovey will delay his retirement for a second time after being persuaded to carry on by the county’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Dovey was due to hang up his fire boots next month after nearly 33 years as a firefighter, including the last 12 in Northamptonshire.
But Stephen Mold revealed he had persuaded the Chief Fire Officer to carry on for another two years to lead the Fire and Rescue Service’s response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and steer its performance improvement plan.
Mr Mold said: “I understand that Darren needs to retire – both because he has made a very lengthy contribution to the fire service and because the pension he has contributed to throughout his career is based on the fact that he does so.
“But I believe that the county’s fire service needs him to keep continuity and ensure that the NFRS is able to continue to improve on the fantastic contribution it has made throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic and beyond.
“Darren and his team have turned around the performance of NFRS in the last year, making major improvements to the service that the public receive.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Service referenced his personal contribution in their report and I believe he will ensure the improvements that have been made are stable and lasting.”
Mr Dovey passed the 30 years’ service that a firefighter’s career path and retirement pension is based on. He has already delayed his planned retirement once to manage the transfer of the fire service governance to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in 2019.
The PFCC has used legislation passed as part of the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis that allows key people to be retained in their role, enabling him to reappoint Mr Dovey on a two year, fixed term contract, subject to approval by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.
He joined Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue in 1987 and transferred to London Fire Brigade in 1999 before moving back to Northamptonshire in 2008 as an area manager.
During his career he worked on the fire at Windsor Castle and was at Russell Square as part of the response to the 7/7 terror attacks in London.
Mr Dovey said: “I postponed my retirement so that I could see NFRS through the change of governance and use the opportunity this gave us to invest in the service and push forward with improvements for the first time in many years.
“Thanks to the hard work of every member of the team, NFRS is providing an even better service and I am confident that we are on our way towards excellence.
“The next challenge will be to make better use of technology and share more buildings and support services with Northamptonshire Police.
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to see through the next phase of change and help establish an even more stable base for NFRS.”