Arson reduction pioneer retires after life in uniform

David Farrow retires from from his role in the Norfolk Fire Service.He is with Southern Group Manage

David Farrow retires from from his role in the Norfolk Fire Service.He is with Southern Group Manager Paul Seaman at Thetford Fire Station. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A former police officer and air force engineer whose unique career path helped him carry out pioneering work in anti-arson work has retired.

David Farrow worked his last day at Thetford Fire Station on Friday, having worked there as an arson reduction officer since 2007.

The 64-year-old, from Stanton, previously worked as an engineer for the RAF and as a police officer in the Thetford, Diss and Attleborough areas.

It was that experience which made him the ideal candidate to become Norfolk's first arson reduction officer, he said.

'I used to go in on an informal basis and speak to the fire service in Thetford regularly, as they were only next door.

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'I would share information about arsons incidents, and we would work together on prevention methods.

'When I retired from the police, they came and asked me to join and it made sense,' he said.

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Having started out as an officer for the Thetford area under the stewardship of Andy Heginbotham, then Thetford fire station manager, Mr Farrow's successes meant he soon became arson reduction officer for Breckland, and then the whole of Norfolk.

His work involved liaising with police and other agencies on arson incidents, and also talking directly with arsonists to try and help them curb their behaviour.

His experiences working as a counsellor during his RAF days enabled him to work with a string of serial offenders and stop them committing arson.

He said he would look back on his career fondly: 'I am very proud of what I've done, in the fact that you can change things.

'When you see these arson offences, there's often an impact on an innocent victim, whether it be an individual or a group.

'Taking away that risk to other people by helping an offender change their behaviour is very important.'

Paul Seaman, group commander for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service in Thetford, said Mr Farrow would be greatly missed.

'You don't get people with David's background come along very often and he will be sorely missed both from a personal and professional perspective,' he said.

Mr Farrow, who was born in Alpington near Norwich, said he will be spending his retirement seeing his four grandchildren and working with the Royal British Legion.

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