Long-serving chief gives Service verdict; as one of the Fire and Rescue Service's longest serving chief fire officers, Peter Jones, Gloucestershire, is in an excellent position to comment upon the state of the Service. He spoke to FIRE just before his retirement last month.(Interview)

FIRE: How has the Fire Service changed for the better during your service?

PJ: I feel it is more confident and self assured, despite the recent past, it has a clear role in the eye of the public. I can remember my early days in London when one senior officer correctly said: "The public know more about the Secret Service than our Service". We were very insular in those days, we lacked the skills to communicate and took too much for granted.

I am attracted to the idea of the recent merger in the ODPM which now embraces Resilience in the Fire and Rescue portfolio. Smart move and overdue. We had conflicting priorities and a huge amount of confusion with planning, particularly in operational response. Perhaps in a short while we will drop the 'Resilience' bit and all accept that the modern generic term 'Fire and Rescue' is sufficiently robust and clear to allow us to accept that's part of the job. …

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