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  1. ITV Report

Cumbria and Cheshire to share chief fire officer

Photo: ITV Border

Cheshire and Cumbria are to have a shared Chief Fire Officer under plans agreed by the two organisations.

Paul Hancock, who has been Cheshire’s Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive since 2009, will become Chief of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service with effect from 5th April 2016, following the retirement of current Cumbria Chief Fire Officer Jim Onions.

Mr. Hancock started his fire service career in Cumbria in 1985 and rose to the position of Assistant Chief Fire Officer before leaving to join Cheshire in 2007.

“I am delighted to be returning to Cumbria as I know the Service well and I am looking forward to working with staff whose dedication and commitment I have always admired.

“All public bodies are facing significant financial challenges but I am confident moves to share resources such as this will not only produce savings but also lead to increased resilience and expertise to help improve the safety of all the communities we serve.”

– Paul Hancock

The proposals have been backed by Cumbria County Council’s Chief Officers Panel and Cheshire Fire Authority. The agreement is to be reviewed after 12 months and will see Cumbria County Council pay Cheshire Fire Authority £60,000 in recognition of Mr. Hancock’s dual role.

“We are delighted to confirm Mr. Hancock as our new Chief Fire Officer. He is in a unique position, having a deep knowledge and understanding of the fire and rescue service in Cumbria, extensive experience as a Chief Fire Officer as well as being at the forefront of national discussions on the future of emergency services.

“There are already a number of practical working arrangements in place between the two services and this decision will only strengthen and increase these joint opportunities in the future at the same time as saving us both money.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to Jim Onions for his contribution to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and the wider council, during his time in Cumbria.”

– Cllr Barry Doughty, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue