Last fire chief set to step down after 36 proud years

Jimmy Campbell is retiring after leading the switch to a single fire service for Scotland
Jimmy Campbell is retiring after leading the switch to a single fire service for Scotland
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The top officer at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue is to retire after 36 years as a firefighter.

Jimmy Campbell will be the final chief fire officer to serve in the role due to the creation of a single brigade for Scotland.

The 56-year-old is currently leading the reforms while on secondment to the Scottish Government and will step down on March 8.

CFO Campbell became “lead officer” of the Fire Reform Programme in November, despite publicly criticising the proposals in the Evening News.

Two months prior to his secondment he said the single service proposals could put the safety of the public and firefighters at risk.

Today, he said he was confident the service could “overcome the challenges” and make the revamped brigade a success.

CFO Campbell said: “It is with genuine sadness that I leave the service that I have dedicated my professional life to, especially as we face a period of tremendous change as we move from eight regional services to one national fire service.

“However, we have a tremendous ‘can do’ attitude in the emergency services and I have no doubt that we will overcome the challenges that inevitably come from such change and that the people of Scotland will benefit from the increased capacity that will come from the merger.

“Over the past few months I have led the reform agenda for the fire and rescue services in Scotland and am delighted at the progress we have made.

“This is a truly historic time and I wish everyone involved my very best wishes for the future.”

Instead of being replaced, acting chief fire officer Alex Clark will remain in the top job until the single force comes into creation in 2013.

CFO Campbell began his career at Lothian and Borders in 1975 as a trainee firefighter. Much of his career was spent in the region, where he also served as a crew commander, watch commander and station commander.

He went on work in the emergency planning, operations and training departments before serving with Tayside in 2004 and Fife in 2008, before returning to Lothian in June 2010.

He added: “It has been a privilege to serve a number of communities throughout Scotland over the past 36 years and, in particular, I look back at my time with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service with great pride.

“To attain the position of chief fire officer has been the highlight of my career, and I must pay tribute to the people who make this service one of the most renowned emergency services in the world.

“It has been of great personal satisfaction to me to have served local communities in Scotland throughout my career and, being a local man, to have come back as chief fire officer has been an honour.”

Councillor Mike Bridgeman, convenor of the fire board, added: “It is sad to be losing such a professional officer. We thank Jimmy Campbell for the years of service he has given and we wish him well on his retirement.”