Hampshire’s first female fire chief says she feels privileged to be blazing a trail for women in the service and will strive to be a role model for the firefighters of tomorrow.
The former head of Knowledge Management for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Shantha Dickinson, 38, will use the array of skills she honed in the military and her insight into local politics in the interim role.
The Assistant Chief Officer and Director of Community Safety and Resilience said: “Hampshire is an extremely progressive fire service and I am delighted to be a part of it.
“I am proud that, along with many others, I may be able to help challenge prejudice and show children in the playground they can be what they want when they grow up.”
The mum of two, from the Meon Valley, Hampshire, was born in Hong Kong before her family relocated to the West Country. She later moved to Edinburgh to attend university.
She then graduated as a commissioned army officer at Sandhurst Military Academy and served in the Intelligence Corps where she frequently had to work in partnership with government departments and agencies.
After a decade of moving around the country with the military, she moved into the world of local politics being in charge of information governance and security for West Sussex County Council for four years.
She then joined Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2014 to build and head up a new department to critically analyse data and information to help improve performance and contribute to the shaping of a more modern fire service.
She added: “The fire service has seen huge changes in its culture and role in recent years and we are always looking for new ways to help keep people safe and improve the world they live in.
“Hampshire is at the forefront of this positive change and I am looking forward to being part of this exciting journey.”
ACO Dickinson – who is fluent in German – has been involved in top-level operational training exercises and shadowing at incidents for more than a year.
Her hobbies focus on her love of fitness and include cycling, trekking and skiing.
ACO Dickinson was promoted along with Stew Adamson who is now also an interim assistant chief and Director of Blue Light Collaboration.