South Wales fire service appoints new chief

The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has appointed a former RAF officer as its new chief, after a report found a “sexist and misogynist” culture at the organisation.

Air Vice Marshal Fin Monahan, who has previously had the Red Arrows under his command, has been announced as the new chief fire officer.

A review published in January found the service had tolerated sexual harassment and domestic abuse outside work, while concerns were also raised about Stuart Millington, who was interim chief fire officer.

Mr Monahan said he was focused on rebuilding the organisation into one “where everyone feels welcome, supported and safe”.

“I am honoured to be entrusted with this important role, and I’m grateful to the staff, unions, stakeholders, and commissioners for their confidence in me,” he said.

A review of the culture at the service found a “sexist and misogynist culture in many places”, as well as “serious deficiencies in the service”, after surveying more than 450 staff.

It followed an ITV news report in 2022 claiming firefighters had kept their jobs despite allegations they had sexually harassed and abused women in the service.

Following the review, Huw Jakeway stood down as chief fire officer, replaced by Mr Millington in an appointment made by Welsh government commissioners.

However, he has also faced accusations of bullying, with a senior union representative saying there had been “really concerning” reports about Mr Millington’s behaviour, and that the situation had got “much, much worse” since his appointment as interim chief fire officer in February 2024.

Mr Millington is facing an employment tribunal connected to his work as assistant chief fire officer at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire service said Mr Monahan had been recruited following a “rigorous recruitment process”.

“The commissioners were acutely aware of the importance of finding an exceptional leader to guide the service through the cultural and organisational changes it faces,” said commissioner Carl Foulkes, chair of the appointment panel.

He added that Mr Monahan joins the fire service from “a distinguished and decorated career as a fast jet pilot and senior leader” in the RAF and Ministry of Defence.