Just before Christmas, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue (HMICFRS) published State of Fire and Rescue 2021. This is the third and final report to the Secretary of State by Sir Thomas Winsor before he steps down as Chief Inspector at the end of March. It also marks the last publication to involve HMI Zoë Billingham, who also ended her tenure during 2021. Former NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher is now an HMI, inspecting both fire and police.

While Sir Thomas says in the foreword that this is an opportunity to reflect on change since 2017, the recent evidence comes from virtual visits to just 13 fire and rescue services between February and August 2021. Chief fire officers also responded to Sir Thomas’ request for insight and that in part influences the report.

The previous edition of State of Fire included six recommendations for change. Only two are complete. Sir Thomas says that the remaining four are still relevant and does not set any new recommendations in his 2021 report, adding: ‘My frustrations grow on behalf of the public at the lack of progress being made to reform this vital public service’.


Read the full article on our digital issue, pages 21-23.

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