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New Chief Fire Officer


Date: 1st December, 2016

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has a new Chief Fire Officer from today (1 December). Ben Ansell has taken over from Darran Gunter, who announced his intention to retire back in the summer.

Mr Ansell said: “I am very proud to have become Chief Fire Officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, and to follow in the footsteps of Darran Gunter. The Service has seen a huge change this year following combination, and I plan to build upon the excellent work of our staff to make our communities safer. This includes our involvement with SafeWise in the new safety centre in Swindon, continuing our work on risk management planning, and continuing to work closely with our partners to enable our communities to become safer and healthier, and to live more independently.”

Mr Ansell joined the then Dorset Fire Brigade in 1994 and served as an operational firefighter in the Bournemouth and Poole area for a number of years. He also worked at the training centre at West Moors.

Following promotion to Station Manager in 2002, he worked in operational planning, audit & review, response policy and area command teams.

During 2006, Mr Ansell was seconded to Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate as an Area Manager. There he led a team into seven fire and rescue authorities, as part of the Operational Assessment of Service Delivery inspection programme.

On his return to Dorset, he led on the Service’s planning for the 2012 Olympics, becoming an Area Commander in 2009. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Fire Officer in 2012, with responsibility for prevention, protection and response.

In April 2016, Mr Ansell became Assistant Chief Fire Officer of the newly combined Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Director of Operations for the new organisation.

He has paid tribute to his predecessor, saying: “Darran has been a great leader, especially during the combination of the new Service. I thank him for that, and for his personal support to me since my designate appointment in September.”

Cllr Rebecca Knox, Chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We were delighted to appoint Ben as Chief Fire Officer, and look forward to working with him and everyone in the Service. We all want to pay tribute and give thanks to Darran Gunter, who has set us on a really fantastic direction, and now Ben has a strong vision of how the organisation will continue working with partners to deliver the best possible service for our communities, and will progress further to change and save lives.”

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