West Sussex appoints new Assistant Chief Fire Officer


Release date: 20 June 2024

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has appointed Gary Ball as its new Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Gary, who currently serves as West Sussex’s Area Manager for Service Delivery, has been appointed to the role following a rigorous recruitment process.

The announcement follows Peter Rickard (the service’s current ACFO)’s appointment as Chief Fire Officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Gary joined Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service as a firefighter in 2002 and served the communities of Portsmouth and Southampton for 12 years. He then joined West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in 2017 as a Station Manager with responsibility for Bognor Regis Fire Station.

After progressing to the role of Group Manager, Gary worked on key projects such as the service’s Improvement Plan following the first inspection from His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, and the implementation of our Performance and Assurance Framework. He was then seconded to the HMICFRS for six months as an Inspecting Officer. 

Gary has recently completed a four-year apprenticeship achieving a BA (Hons) in Management and serves as the National Fire Chief’s Council Lead for On-call alongside his role with West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

As Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Gary will lead on the service’s operational response (otherwise known as Service Delivery) and the Prevention and Protection departments.

Speaking of his new role, Gary said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the service’s new Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

“I’m really looking forward to working closely with colleagues across the service, who are incredibly passionate about the work they do, as we continue to build upon the successes that we have already made through our improvement journey.”

Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Gary into this new position. During his time in West Sussex, Gary has proved himself to be an incredible asset and great leader; I know this news will be very well received across the service.”

Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “Since joining the service seven years ago, Gary has made huge contributions and has clearly demonstrated his unwavering commitment to serving communities of West Sussex. 

“Gary is a well-respected officer and his extensive knowledge of the sector, both locally and nationally, will help to make West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service the best it can be.”

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