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Our people

Our most important resource is our people. We currently employ approximately 475 staff who deliver services throughout the county.

We have:

  • 22 fire stations
  • One headquarters site at Darby House, Wellingborough which is shared with Northamptonshire Police and the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC)
  • Two satellite sites:
    • Moulton Logistics Centre (MLC), Moulton, Northampton
    • Northern Accommodation Building (NAB), Kettering

The Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO), two Assistant Chief Fire Officers (ACFOs), a Joint Assistant Chief Officer for Enabling Services (Police and Fire), three Area Commanders (ACs), the Head of Protection and the Prevention, Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager come together to form the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) for NFRS.

Organisational structure chart 

Each of their service areas are listed below

Key personnel


Nikki Watson

The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) delivers on the priorities in the Fire and Rescue National Framework which are:

  • to make provision for prevention and protection activities and respond to incidents appropriately
  • to work in partnership with our communities and a wide range of partners locally and nationally in order to deliver our service
  • to be accountable to our communities for the service we provide

As Chief Fire Officer, Nikki has ultimate responsibility for the running of the Fire and Rescue Service in Northamptonshire. She works closely with the OPFCC and local and national strategic partners, and ensures the Service’s activities are carried out with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

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Simon Tuhill

Simon has been in the fire service for over 25 years. He transferred to Northamptonshire in July 2023.

He began his career with London Fire Brigade where he served for 22 years in busy areas of Central London, including Paddington, Westminster and Knightsbridge. He has worked across the capital in a variety of dense urban environments, each posing unique risks and challenges, such as the country’s tallest building (the Shard) whilst Borough Commander in Southwark and many of the capital’s main hospitals and the HS2 construction site as Borough Commander for Camden. He also worked closely with London’s two biggest sporting arenas, Twickenham and Wembley, whilst in roles in Richmond and Brent respectively.

As an operational firefighter and officer, Simon was involved in the response to many incidents of national significance, including the 7/7 bombings, the London pub bombings, the Paddington Train Crash, the Westminster Bridge terror attack and the Grenfell Tower fire.

Following transferring to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2020, he was responsible for service delivery, prevention resilience and improvement, managing all 29 stations and firefighters. During his three years in Hertfordshire, Simon was Senior Operational Commander at a range of large complex incidents including 12-pump fires at Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Welwyn Garden City. He also acted as Gold commander at various events and major incidents, including the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Just Stop Oil protests.

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ACFO - Community Risk

Rob Porter

The ACFO – Community Risk oversees the day to day running of the operational side of the service:

  • Operational Response
  • Community Safety and Safeguarding
  • Fire Protection
  • Service Investigations

Rob Porter has held this position since July 2023. Prior to this, Rob was the ACFO for Service Development. Spending 28 years with NFRS, the first two as On-Call Firefighter Wellingborough.

Rob has undertaken many roles including Operations, Corporate Services and Training during this time.

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ACFO - Service Development

Phil Pells

The ACFO Service Development oversees organisational development.

This includes fire service operations policy, operational assurance, Training, Strategic Planning, business performance processes, Service Assurance, audit and Information Management via the various department leads and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection programme.

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Joint Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen

Joint Assistant Chief Officer for Enabling Services (Police and Fire)

Paul Bullen

The Joint Assistant Chief Officer for Enabling Services oversees the following departments that are shared between Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue and Northamptonshire Police:

  • Transport & Logistics
  • Commercial & Property (including Health and Safety)
  • Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT)
  • Human Resources
  • Finance

The Fleet, Engineering and Equipment team manages vehicles and operational equipment as and when required for the Fire Service.  They also undertake maintenance, repairs and inspections for NFRS and Northamptonshire Police.

The Commercial & Property team maintain all fire stations and manage access control across Northamptonshire. The Health and Safety team provide support and advice to NFRS. The Service has a dedicated Health and Safety Adviser working with a Technical Support Officer to administer, inform and guide staff.

DDaT maintain the computerised, radio and telephony systems for NFRS. In addition they support a variety of bespoke databases and implement a number of project solutions.

Paul Bullen has undertaken this role since April 2020. Prior to this, Paul had worked within the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner from 2012, latterly as Head of Paid Service and Monitoring Officer, having previously worked for both Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council.

Paul lives in Northampton with his wife and two daughters.

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Area Commander - Service Delivery

Mick Berry

Within Service Delivery we have the following departments and functions:

  • Community Risk Groups (CRGs)
  • Fire Control
  • Community engagement
  • Resource Management & Recruitment

The CRGs manage the 22 fire stations which are crewed by both Wholetime (full time) Duty System (WDS) and Retained (on call) Duty System (OCDS) personnel. The stations are split into 3 risk areas; clustered across the North and West of the county, each headed by a CRG Group Manager. They provide emergency response to incidents, as well as carrying out prevention & protection activities (supporting the wider departments) within the local community.

Fire Control provide a 24/7 response to emergency calls, mobilising personnel, appliances and equipment to incidents and supporting resource management.

These functions support the Response Strategy with the key principle of developing a response model that allows us to mobilise a range of vehicles, equipment and personnel in a flexible way.

Prior to commencing the Area Commander (Service Delivery role) Mick was Area Commander for Business Services. He worked as a middle manager since 2009 in various roles including CRG management, Training Department Manager, CRMP and various Station Management roles including responsibility for recruitment.

During his time as a Station Manager, Mick managed 15 of the 22 fire stations within the county. Mick has worked for NFRS since 1997 when he started as an On-Call Firefighter before joining the Wholetime Duty System.

Mick is currently enrolled on the National Fire Chiefs Council Executive Leadership Programme and has also completed incident command qualifications relating to his strategic role to include incident command level 4 and multi-agency incident command (MAGIC).

Further to this Mick has a Master’s in Business Administration to support his strategic management role.

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Acting Area Commander - Operational Support

Neil Sadler

Within Operational Support we have the following departments:

  • Joint Operations Team (JOT)
  • Workforce Development and Operational Assurance
  • Training

JOT is a key function of NFRS and Northamptonshire Police enabling interoperability between Fire, Police and external agencies whilst managing operational policy/guidance, risk intelligence, operational learning and specialist operational response.

The Workforce Development and Operational Assurance team oversee the development of staff, leadership and management training and deliver command training to all operational incident commanders within NFRS.

The Training team provide centrally delivered risk critical and core skills Competency Based Training Frameworks to all NFRS operational staff, including the management and delivery of external courses.

Neil has worked for NFRS for 23 years, starting as an On-Call Firefighter at Brackley Fire Station, before joining full time in 2003. Working in our Community Risk Group (CRG) for 20 years, in various roles (Training support, On-Call Support, Fire Control Room Manager, Station Commander) before taking the Group Commander role in JOT in January 2020.

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Area Commander - Business Services

Lisa Jackson

The AM for Business Services oversees the following departments:

  • Service Information Team
  • Community Risk Management Planning (CRMP)
  • Business planning and performance
  • Organisational Assurance

The Service Information Team provides a comprehensive support service to all customers of NFRS. They manage corporate service information and the fire publication scheme on the Service’s website, as well as co-ordinating the administration of internal documents, forms and letters throughout NFRS.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) is the Fire Authority for Northamptonshire, and is required through the National Framework for England to produce a Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP); to identify risks within its areas of responsibility, and outline its plan for mitigating these risks and keeping residents safe. The Business Services Team is responsible for coordinating the production and constant review of risk and the plan.

Business Services supports all NFRS departments with business plans and risk management, performance reviews and collation of essential data. The team support all aspects of assurance, accountability and business continuity.

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Head of Protection Scott Richards

Head of Protection

Scott Richards

The Head of Protection oversees the Protection team which aims to drive down risk in non-domestic premises.

This is achieved through a risk based inspection programme of non-domestic premises under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO) 2005. They provide advice and guidance to building developers, owners, occupiers, and employees on regulations and fire safety legislation including the enforcement of sports grounds legislation.

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Prevention Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager Lisa Bryan

Prevention, Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager

Lisa Bryan

The Prevention, Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager is the senior responsible officer for Safeguarding and oversees the Prevention Department which includes the following teams:

  • Home Safety and Safeguarding
  • Youth and Community Education
  • Arson Task Force

The teams represent the service at external partnerships for safeguarding, health and wellbeing and community safety and ensure that the service meets the requirements of the Serious Violence Duty.

They develop policies, programmes, and projects to ensure advice is available to the public and to support our fire station personnel to deliver targeted information on fire, road, and water safety within their communities.

The teams provide specialist advice and interventions to those at most risk and provide coordination of the service wide Home Safety Visit programme and risk management referral pathways.

The Designated Safeguarding leads provide advice, support and training to the wider service and manage our outgoing safeguarding referrals and information requests in respect of statutory enquiries.

The teams ensure continuous learning from incidents and fatalities locally and work as part of the NFCC national network to ensure sector wide learning and resource development.

Lisa Bryan has undertaken this role since 2019 having joined NFRS in 2001. Lisa has successfully completed the National Fire Chiefs Council Executive Leadership Programme and is a member of their national Safeguarding Board and Prevention Committee.

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