THE WELSH Government has appointed an assistant chief fire officer from North Wales as interim chief of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS).

Ministers have taken direct control of the service after a damning report of the service’s culture, itself a backdrop to complaints of abuse and harassment from female staff.

Stuart Millington has been temporarily seconded to the role, effective from Tuesday, February 6. Deputy minister for social partnership Hannah Blythyn said: "Sadly, I do not have confidence that the Service has the internal capacity or capability to oversee its own recovery.

"Management at all levels, up to and including the highest, has been implicated in the identified failings. They cannot be both the problem and the solution."

South Wales Argus: Hannah Blythyn: 'Management at all levels has been implicated'Hannah Blythyn: 'Management at all levels has been implicated'

Mr Millington will work with commissioners as interim chief to ensure “continuity and progression” following the government’s intervention.

The interim chief said: “I am conscious that this has been an unsettling time for everyone here at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and therefore I approach this opportunity with a deep sense of responsibility but also a great sense of great optimism.

READ MORE: Fire service found to tolerate sexual harassment taken over by commissioners

“I am looking forward to working with the many professional and dedicated staff who work at stations and departments across the area and I know from my previous connections with the Service that there is a great deal we can be proud of.

“Whilst I don’t underestimate the challenge that lies ahead for all of us, I am confident that together we will be able to rise to this challenge and respond to the recommendations contained within the recent Independent Cultural Review in order to make the Service an inclusive and welcoming workplace, where everyone feels valued.

“I hope we can embrace this opportunity together, that we can strive to ensure we are an employer of choice where diversity is celebrated, where everyone can thrive and that we can shape a positive future for the Service as a beacon of excellence and respect going forward.”