HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service have appointed a new chief officer.

Neil Odin will start in his new role as leader of the service from January next year.

He will replace Chief Dave Curry, (pictured, below right) who is stepping down from the role he called “the best in the UK fire service”, after a decade at the helm.

Mr Odin said that he was delighted to be taking on the role of chief officer for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

He said: “It is a position that I know carries great responsibility, as our service strives to make life safer for every resident.

“Stepping into the shoes of someone as respected and admired as Dave Curry will be a tough challenge, but I am confident I can bring a new perspective and insight to the role.”

Mr Odin continued: “There is no doubt I take on the job at a time of great change in the fire service but I am looking forward immensely to the challenge of ensuring we continue to supply an exemplary service to our communities and to leading such a great organisation.”

The 44 year-old joined the service as assistant chief in March 2012, having previously worked at West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for over 20 years.

Later as deputy chief and director of service delivery, covering community safety, response and resilience he was responsible for firefighting and frontline response, prevention, safe and well visits, business fire safety and community self-help plans.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority chairman Councillor Chris Carter said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of our new chief officer.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Neil when he formally takes up the appointment in January and supporting him in continuing the excellent work that has been achieved in making Hampshire and Isle of Wight safer.”

Cllr Carter added: “Being at the helm of one of the best and most progressive services in the country is a huge responsibility and in Neil we have the right person to lead the service forward.”