After ten years at the helm of Hampshire’s Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer John Bonney has announced he will be retiring at the end of the year.
Mr. Bonney, who has been with HFRS for 13 years, announced this week to the organization’s 1,800 staff that he will step down on 31 December 2014.
The Chief Officer described his job as “the best in the British fire service” ” and said that although he was proud of what he had accomplished together with HFRS “it is time for a new leader to take the organization on further from me.”
Bonney left university in 1981 with an honours degree in politics and joined London Fire Brigade because he says, he wanted a job were he could serve the community.
In an interview at Leigh Road HFRS Headquarters He told Eastleigh News he felt his greatest achievement was actually taking on the role of Chief Officer for Hampshire.
As a result of government spending cuts HFRS has to find millions of pounds worth of savings and Bonney said this would be the greatest challenge for his successor but he believed that Hampshire’s fire service is on course to meet those challenges.
“There is a good legacy in terms of a very efficient organisation with lots of ideas of how to improve that efficiency.”
Bonney added that to help him the new chief would inherit:
“A fantastic set of committed professional staff.
With that you can do wonders as we have proved in the last ten years.”
In a message to staff, the Bonney said:
“It has been a privilege to work with all of you and lead this marvellous organisation, an organisation that has become one of the most respected and high performing services in the UK.
“You have inspired me and for 10 years made me the most privileged chief officer anywhere in the country, and can I thank each of you for that.”
Hampshire Fire Authority Chairman Royston Smith said in a statement:
“John retires from his position as chief with our heartfelt thanks as an authority for the huge impact he has made as our top fire officer.
“John’s inspirational leadership has seen Hampshire gain a clear position as one of the leading fire and rescue services in the country.
“He will be greatly missed and he leaves an absolutely massive legacy as a very effective and hugely respected chief officer.”
John Bonney joined Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2001 as Deputy Chief Officer and took on the role of Chief Officer in July 2004. He was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in 2007.
Reflecting on his time as Chief Officer John Bonney told Eastleigh News:
“What makes this job so special is the people I work with.”