Darryl Keen appointed as new chief fire officer for Herts

Darryl Keen, the new chief fire officer for Hertfordshire
Darryl Keen, the new chief fire officer for Hertfordshire

The county’s fire and rescue service will have a new man in charge for the first time in 12 years.

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher is taking up a new role after more than a decade at the helm, and is being replaced by his deputy Darryl Keen.

Hertfordshire County Council has appointed Mr Keen as acting director of community protection, which includes the chief fire officer role.

He will be responsible for managing an integrated department that brings together the fire and rescue service, trading standards, emergency planning and a joint community safety unit with the police.

It comes as Mr Wilsher takes up a high-profile national role as chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council. His biggest operation came shortly after his appointment more than a decade ago, the Buncefield oil depot explosion in Hemel Hempstead.

Richard Thake, the county council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “While we’re sorry to see Roy Wilsher leave, his appointment to this national role is a testament to the excellent work he’s done as chief fire officer and director of community protection at Hertfordshire County Council.

Departing chief fire officer Roy Wilsher meets Prince Charles after Buncefield

Departing chief fire officer Roy Wilsher meets Prince Charles after Buncefield

“It’s a great reflection on Hertfordshire that Roy’s peers believe his experience here makes him the best person to represent and coordinate the UK’s fire services nationally, and work with central government to help deliver the Home Office’s programme of fire reform.

“We’re delighted to be able to appoint Darryl Keen as the new acting director of community protection.

“He will provide the leadership and experience the directorate needs as it continues to evolve, and I look forward to working with him to keep the people of Hertfordshire healthy and safe.”

Mr Keen joined Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as assistant chief fire officer in 2011 and has been deputy chief since 2015.

He previously worked for both Buckinghamshire and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services.

He is a keen skier and cyclist and is chair of the FireSport UK Cycling Section, and has played leading roles for the Firefighters Charity in Bucks and Hertfordshire.

Darryl, who starts his new role on April 1, said: “I am looking forward to taking up my new role at a very exciting time for UK fire and rescue services and Hertfordshire in particular.

“The legacy that Roy has left is a very strong one and I look forward to continuing the delivery of excellent services to the people of Hertfordshire.”