Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's most senior officer has announced his retirement after more than four years at the helm of the region's largest fire and rescue service.

Chief Fire Officer Iain Bathgate will retire on 24th February 2012 after nearly 34 years with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Iain joined Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service as a firefighter at Hebburn Fire Station in 1978 and as a junior officer he served at stations in Wallsend, Gateshead, Tunstall and central Sunderland. After working for over 13 years on fire stations, he went on to work as a legislative fire safety officer in both Sunderland and South Tyneside before becoming the service's training officer. Iain then became Assistant Chief Officer for operational and technical services in 2001 before progressing to Deputy Chief Fire Officer in July 2006 and then Chief Fire Officer on 25 December 2007.

Iain said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this service and I firmly believe it is one of the best fire and rescue services in the country. There is no doubt that this is due to the hard work and commitment of everyone in Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, all of whom work tirelessly to keep people safe. Being Chief Fire Officer has been challenging and demanding, but thanks to the support and dedication of everyone at the service it has never been less than a pleasure to undertake the role.

"The fire and rescue service faces some challenging times in the years ahead but, given the professionalism of the staff who work for the service I have every confidence that it will continue to be one of the best, if not the best, in the country."

Chairman of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority Cllr Bob Heron said: "There is no doubt that we will be very sad to see Iain go. During his time in the service he has been responsible for a significant number of achievements, in particular, introducing initiatives to prevent fires from happening in the first place; and as a result we have seen a large drop in house fires during his time as a senior officer, as well as a drop in the number of deaths and injuries caused by fire.

"Iain has also worked hard to ensure that the service understands, and is more responsive to, the needs of the different communities we serve as well as helping to diversify the workforce, making it more representative of the local community.

"Iain will be leaving behind a tremendous legacy and on behalf of the fire authority and staff I would like to thank him for his commitment during his time in the service as well as his leadership. I would also like to wish him all the best for the future."

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will now begin the process to replace Mr Bathgate as Chief Fire Officer.


Posted November 16th, 2011 at 0905 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com