New county fire chief confirmed after grilling from Northamptonshire councillors

Mark Jones starts work in October when current boss Darren Dovey retires after 30 years service

Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 9:20 am

Mark Jones has been confirmed as Northamptonshire’s new fire chief.

Mr Jones appeared before a confirmation hearing of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from both West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire councils, at The Guildhall in Northampton on Wednesday (July 6).

Commissioner Stephen Mold named Mr Jones as his preferred candidate for the role in June following a comprehensive recruitment process.

Mark Jones (left) alongside commissioner Stephen Mold during last week's confirmation panel meeting at Northampton Guildhall

Speaking at the panel, Mr Jones said: “Everything I have learned in my research and through the recruitment process has shown to me that Northamptonshire wants continued and sustained improvement of the service.

"I’m drawn to that challenge as I’ve achieved it everywhere I have been. It’s already achieved a lot of that under the current leadership and I’m attracted to the challenge of improving it further.

“The challenges for Northamptonshire are the same as many UK fire services in that we are heading into tight financial times.

"We are going to have increased demand with restricted resources and that’s going to be a challenge across the UK. Northamptonshire has changed to the governance of the OPFCC and has had a good funding injection after being a poverty-stricken county fire service, and that’s a chance for us to build on something.

“With any change agenda we have to take our people with us. We also have to make sure that our public at large understand the reasons for change, and why we are trying to improve the service for their benefit.”

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Mr Jones is currently based in Australia, where he is Chief Officer of the South Australia Country Fire Service.

He has also had stints as Chief Fire Officer for Buckinghamshire from 2010 to 2015 and as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in Essex after joining the Fire Service in 1985.

Mr Mold said: “We are rightly proud of what we have been able to achieve and I want to pay tribute to Darren who has shown great determination, vision and ambition.

“The recruitment process was robust and it became very clear that Mark Jones was the right person to take the service forward.”