Fire bosses look into com­plaints at train­ing cen­tre

Middleton Guardian - - YOUR PICTURES - NEAL KEELING

AFIREFIGHTER has been sus­pended and a sec­ond given ‘ man­age­ment ad­vice’ af­ter con­cerns were raised about their re­la­tion­ships with women re­cruits.

An of­fi­cer has been spo­ken to by bosses about the ‘ ap­pro­pri­ate­ness’ of his be­hav­iour with a fe­male col­league fol­low­ing an in­for­mal com­plaint.

An­other is cur­rently sus­pended fol­low­ing a sep­a­rate, for­mal com­plaint.

Brigade bosses are ‘hav­ing dis­cus­sions’ about is­sues raised re­gard­ing the Greater Manch­ester Fire Ser­vice (GMFRS) train­ing cen­tre at Thomp­son Street, in Manch­ester, next to Manch­ester Cen­tral fire sta­tion.

Both com­plaints re­late to male fire­fight­ers’ re­la­tion­ships with women re­cruited in the past few years.

A GMFRS spokesman said: “An in­ter­nal al­le­ga­tion of in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­iour has been made against one in­di­vid­ual and they have been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended while we look into the al­le­ga­tion.

“It would, there­fore, be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com- ment any fur­ther.

“This is not how we ex­pect GMFRS staff to be­have and any al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour are and will be taken very se­ri­ously in­deed.”

The brigade has in­creased the num­ber of women fire­fight­ers within its ranks in re­cent years fol­low­ing a num­ber of suc­cess­ful re­cruit­ment drives.

The Fire Bri­gades Union says there are now 53 women fire­fight­ers at GMFRS. Of those, 90 per cent are said to have been taken on in the past two years.

In De­cem­ber, Dawn Docx be­came the high­est rank­ing woman of­fi­cer in the brigade when she was ap­pointed as deputy county fire of­fi­cer, mov­ing from north Wales where she held the same po­si­tion.

A fire ser­vice source said: “There has been an at­tempt to push all this un­der the car­pet.

“As­pects of the cul­ture of the train­ing cen­tre among some staff needs look­ing at.”

In Septem­ber last year, a fire­fighter was sus­pended af­ter a four­month in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions a cou­ple had sex at a sta­tion.

An ex­plicit photo was posted on a swingers web­site by a per­son claim­ing to be ‘gen­uine fire crew’.

The im­age clearly showed the brigade’s web­site ad­dress on the side of a ve­hi­cle.

So far, no dis­ci­plinary ac­tion has been taken against any of­fi­cer in re­la­tion to that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The fire­fighter sus­pended in that case is back at work.

A fire­fighter has been sus­pended over an al­le­ga­tion of ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­iour’

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