Meet the Scotsman set to swap Aussie outback for streets of Northampton, Corby, Kettering and Daventry as county's new Chief Fire Officer

Comissioner’s preferred candidate handled some of the worst bushfires in state history

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 3:51 pm

Mark Jones is set swap to the Aussie outback for the streets of Northampton, Corby, Kettering and Daventry after being named as the preferred candidate to be next Northamptonshire Chief Fire Officer.

The Scotsman started out fighting fires north of the border before boomeranging between the UK and Down Under with stints in Essex, Canberra, Buckinghamshire and then South Australia.

He is set to replace Darren Dovey who retires in October after more than six years as county fire chief.

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Commissioner Stephen Mold (left) has named Mark Jones as his preferred candidate to be new Northamptonshire Chief Fire Officer

Mr Jones was hailed for his leadership in commanding response to the largest ever series of bushfires in South Australian history in 2020.

His appointment is still to be approved by the county’s police and crime panel but Mr Jones said: "My current service is fantastic and I know that the people I have met from Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service show the same commitment, passion and dedication to public safety and public service.

“The service has achieved much with tight resources over many years and that is testament to the professionalism of the men and women who dedicate themselves to their roles.

“Like all UK emergency services, NFRS is in a period of evolutionary change and it is an exciting prospect to be part of a team that will continue to deliver top-quality safety services to the people of Northamptonshire.”

County fire commissioner Stephen Mold said Mr Jones emerged as his preferred candidate from a “testing” two-day selection process.

Candidates took part in two days of activities, where they presented to, and took questions from, senior members of partner organisations, before participating in a ‘question time’ event with firefighters and staff.

Mr Mold said: “Mark is an experienced and accomplished Chief Fire Officer and is an ideal choice to take our service forward.

“Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has made great progress since 2019, improving its performance and the way it keeps people safe beyond all recognition.

"I have no doubt that Mark Jones is the right person to take NFRS forward into the next stage of its development, creating a positive, welcoming culture, embracing change, and taking the undoubted skills of the firefighters and staff to build on the already significant work they do in the broader community safety arena.”

Who is Mark Jones?

■ Joined Grampian Fire Brigade in 1985

■ Appointed Essex deputy chief fire officer in 2005

■ Became Chief Fire Officer of Buckinghamshire in 2010

■ Moved to Australia in 2015 and served as the ACT Emergency Services Agency's director of strategic reform for two years

■ Returned to the UK as London Ambulance Service head of resilience and specialist assets

■ Back to Australia in 2019, commanding response to largest ever series of bushfires in South Australia's history as chief officer of South Australian Country Fire Service

■ Had key responsibility in the fields of fairness, equality, and diversity as an Inspector in Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland in the early 2000s

■ Also worked on the ‘Women in Emergency Services’ project in Canberra, seeing significant increase in recruitment of women into ACT Fire and Rescue Service

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