Staffordshire's Chief Fire Officer to retire after three decades with service
Staffordshire's top fire officer has announced she will be retiring later this year after nearly three decades with the service.
Rebecca Bryant, who is to stand down in October, said she was "privileged" to have been part of positive changes to the county's fire service and "proud" of its response to the pandemic.
Ms Bryant has been with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for 29 years. She became the country's first ever woman chief officer to have risen through the ranks when she landed the top job five years ago.
It comes after Staffordshire Police's most senior police officer, Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, announced his decision to retire earlier this month after 33 years with the force.
Ms Bryant said: "Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is focused on improving the lives of all our residents in so many ways, and I am so proud of the difference the Service and my incredible staff have made and continue to make every day for local communities.
“The Fire and Rescue Service has changed in so many ways during my career with the most significant changes being linked to the work we undertake within the prevention arena. I feel very privileged to have been part of that change and the difference made here in Staffordshire through our home safety programme (Safe and Well visits), our schools education programme (Safe and Sound), and of course our incredible Community Sprinkler Project.
“I honestly believe that our Community Sprinkler Project places the county at the forefront of ensuring the safety of firefighters and residents through the installation of suppression systems. Over the next few years I am confident the work in respect of the built environment and the refocusing on technical and legislative fire safety will continue to improve the safety of our residents, visitors and businesses.
“I am also proud that the Service has been an important part of the collective response to the Covid pandemic across the county, supporting our communities, our families and our colleagues at this unprecedented time. It has been a phenomenal joint effort and I firmly believe that there are many positives that can be transferred into improving life for people as we strive to return to normal.”
Ms Bryant was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list and served as programme director of the Executive Leadership Programme for aspiring leaders in the fire service.
She received an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton in 2017 in recognition of her "contribution and achievements in the fire and rescue service and acting as an inspirational leader in the field".
Staffordshire Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said: “Becci has dedicated nearly three decades of her life to the fire and rescue service and keeping people safe. I know she has always strived to make a real difference and is driven by the need to protect and improve lives – a duty she takes very seriously.
“She has seen real change during her time in the service, not least the heavier emphasis on prevention work, which I’ve been lucky enough to see at first hand and which is impressive.
"The service is facing more challenges into the future and Becci has been vocal in calling for progress and change within the service to respond.
“She leaves the Staffordshire service well placed to continue to grow and adapt to those future challenges.
"I’d like to thank her for her years of tireless service and dedication on behalf of all the people of Staffordshire and wish her all the very best for her retirement.”