Sterling efforts to keep people safe recognised in Birthday Honours

Paul Francis, Community Development and Safeguarding Manager at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours list 2024.


15/06/2024 2:01pm


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service

The list marks the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK. Paul has been recognised for services to public safety.

Paul said:

“I feel deeply honoured and incredibly proud to receive this award. I have always maintained a passion for promoting and advocating the human rights, health and wellbeing of vulnerable individuals to enable them to live safely, free from all forms of harm and abuse.

“However, I think it is also crucially important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from colleagues and teams, both within the Service and throughout our external partners, who support and ensure that our prevention work is embedded in everything we do to keep our communities safe.”

Paul, from Southampton, has worked for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for nearly 22 years.  During his time with the Service, Paul has carried out a variety of roles within the organisation and was an on-call firefighter for 12 years.

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For the past nine years Paul has worked within the HIWFRS Prevention team, starting within the departments as a Community Safety Officer, then becoming the Service’s Safeguarding Lead Officer, and in 2016 being appointed to the position of the Community Development and Safeguarding Manager.

Before embarking on his Fire and Rescue career, Paul worked within the health sector, primarily in social care and mental health services.

A key part of Paul’s current role is building and developing partnership arrangements with key agencies such as police, ambulance, health and local authorities to ensure that everyone works collectively towards the common goal of keeping our communities safe.

He said:

“I believe it is of critical importance that HIWFRS, as a Community Safety Partner, makes the most of every opportunity to ensure all prevention and early intervention activities are effectively delivered, and by doing so helping vulnerable members of the community avoid reaching crisis point.”

Neil Odin, Chief Fire Officer, said:

“I am delighted that Paul’s hard work and dedication to safeguarding others has been recognised with this Honour. As a Service we interact with many vulnerable people and are well placed to help them access support services. Paul’s drive and focus on the needs and rights of the individual has meant we are always seeking to make that difference, to support the delivery of ‘person centred’ outcomes for the people we engage with so they can live safer and more resilient lives. He is an inspiration to us all.”

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