MERSEYSIDE'S chief fire officer Dan Stephens is to leave the role after seven years to take up a position in Australia.

Dan has has accepted an offer to take up the role of chief executive officer/chief officer of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Victoria, Australia.

Mr Stephens said: "It has been a real privilege to serve as chief over the last seven years.

"Despite the most challenging of circumstances I believe we have maintained an excellent level of service to the people of Merseyside and that is all due to the professionalism and commitment of our staff."

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service says it has accepted Dan's recommendation to temporarily promote deputy chief fire officer Phil Garrigan to chief fire officer and area manager Nick Searle to deputy chief fire officer.

An appointments process to permanently fill the post will follow.