One of the longest serving members of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Michael Rodden, Arson Task Force co-ordinator, was given the honour for his services to community safety and to the community of Northamptonshire.
Corby-born Mr Rodden started work with NFRS 42 years ago when he joined as a volunteer. When a vacancy came up to be employed by the service as a whole-time firefighter, he seized the opportunity to apply – leaving behind his former career in the Northamptonshire steel industry. In 2004, he successfully applied for a secondment in the newly formed ATF; a joint team run by NFRS and Northamptonshire Police, with the goal of cutting the level of arson in this county.
Throughout the last 12 years, Mr Rodden has worked as part of the ATF on numerous initiatives to combat arson, through a mixture of research, community engagement and education work.
Just one of the projects has involved going into prisons to carry out intervention work with convicted arsonists. More than 90 per cent of these offenders have not gone on to commit any further arson.
Mr Rodden was also one of the founders of ELVIS (the End of Life Vehicle Impound Scheme), a joint operation between the ATF, Northamptonshire County Council and the district and borough councils in Northamptonshire.
The concept behind ELVIS was to give the public a point of contact (email or phone) to report abandoned, untaxed or nuisance vehicles. The principle was that the quicker these kinds of vehicles are collected, the less likely they are to become a target for arsonists.
This is not the first time Mr Rodden has been recognised for his work as throughout his career he has been given a number of commendations and awards, including the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation, the Superintendent’s Commendation and an award from the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire.
During his time with NFRS, Mr Rodden also became a popular and recognised figure within the community through his work as a Corby Borough Councillor (2003-2007).
Speaking about his MBE, Mr Rodden said: “I am truly proud to receive this award. I feel honoured that my years of work with Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service have been recognised. I am also humbled that, with so much good work by so many people going on in the county, I have been nominated.
“I work with so many dedicated people and you simply don’t get awards like this without having the support of other colleagues. The work I am involved with relies on successful working partnerships between NFRS and Northamptonshire Police, and with local authorities and private sector organisations.
“Working within the Arson Task Force is challenging, intriguing and satisfying. It drives my enthusiasm every day and this fantastic recognition will continue to fuel that drive for some time to come.”