New Chief Fire Officer

The new Chief Fire Officer for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is the present Deputy Chief Paul Raymond who steps up to take the top job on July 1, it was announced this afternoon. (Friday, May 22nd)

With "outstanding" leadership qualities, Mr Raymond and his team will lead the service into an "exciting" future, said Councillor Stuart West, Chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority.

"We have chosen the right person for the job from an exceptional field of candidates. We have witnessed how Paul has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities as our Deputy Chief for the last four years and the whole Fire Authority is extremely confident that he will lead the Service into an exciting future.

"He has a team around him that would be the envy of any Brigade in the country. My full support and congratulations go to Paul and I look forward to him working with the Authority in the future," said Mr West.

The present Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor announced his retirement last month after a successful career in both the British Army and the Fire Service.

Mr Raymond (49) joined the fire service as a Retained Duty firefighter in 1981 and joined the Hereford & Worcester Service as a wholetime firefighter in 1983 serving at Hereford Fire Station.

During his career he also served at Kidderminster, Droitwich and Redditch fire stations as well as Headquarters Technical Department, Operational Intelligence, Health & Safety, Special Projects, Training and Fire Safety. He moved to Shropshire in 1998 as the Personal Development Manager and was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2005.

Mr Raymond said: "I am extremely proud to be chosen to lead Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and would like to pay tribute to Alan Taylor, who has been my colleague, my friend and my advisor over the years.

"He has driven the organisation forward during his four years as Chief and we are now seen as one of the primary fire and rescue services in the country.

"I intend to build on this success and I can assure the public that I am dedicated and passionate about delivering a first class public service to the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

"I will continue to work closely with professional colleagues in the Service and our excellent local strategic partnerships to provide a caring, competent and cost effective organisation that local people are proud to see as their Fire & Rescue Service."

Mr Raymond, of Admaston, Telford, is married to Alison and has a 22 year-old daughter Rhiannon.

22nd May, 2009