Sir Ken Knight commenced his fire service career in Surrey Fire Brigade in1966 and subsequently, served in a number of UK fire and rescue services. During his career he was the Chief Fire Officer of Dorset and subsequently West Midlands Fire Service before becoming London’s Fire Commissioner from 2003, a position he held during the 2005 London bombings in which 52 members of the public died.
In 2007 Sir Ken was appointed as the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.
In this role he advised UK Government Ministers and senior officials on fire policy matters and provided advice during major and catastrophic emergencies. He was also responsible for the enforcement of the fire safety regulations in Crown premises. During this period Sir Ken provided assurance to Government regarding the planning and delivery of fire safety arrangements and operational response by fire and rescue services for the London 2012 Olympics.
As a result of requests made to the UK Government, Sir Ken undertook reviews of the fire and rescue services in Ireland and Bermuda, and also a review of the national fire safety and civil defence arrangements in the Kurdish region of Iraq at the request of the Kurdish Regional Government. He also advised Gibralta on resilience issues and redrafting the relevant legislation relating to the fire and rescue service.
Since leaving his government position in 2013 Sir Ken has been providing independent consultancy advice to both private and public sector organisations and is the independent adviser on the fire safety committee for the Palace of Westminster.
He is also committed to support the wider fire industry and the innovation it provides to enhance firefighter and public safety.
Following the tragedy of a high-rise fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 in which 72 people died, the government appointed Sir Ken as the Chairman of the Independent Advisory Expert Panel. The Panel produced advice to Government on the measures that need to be taken to make people safe in high rise building, as part of the Building Safety Programme at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Sir Ken has been involved in Standards making for thirty-five years during which time he has participated in and chaired; British, CEN and ISO Committees. He currently chairs the strategic British Standards fire standards committee.
Sir Ken is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Her Majesty the Queen awarded Sir Ken the Queens’ Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in 1991 and Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001. He was appointed as Her Majesty’s representative Deputy Lieutenant (DL) for the London Borough of Richmond uponThames in 2007.
Sir Ken was Knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fire and rescue service.