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Chief Fire Officer says Commissioner’s remarks hurtful and damaging


Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service Acting Chief Fire Officer Simon Tuhill has said that misogynistic language used by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is unacceptable, and do not reflect the values of the Service and its staff.

Simon Tuhill said that the Fire Service is held in extremely high esteem by the public, and staff are proud of how much trust is placed in them and know they must earn it.

He said that the while there is work to do on improving the culture and diversity of the Service, he did not want the Commissioner’s remarks to detract from progress that has been made locally.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Simon Tuhill said: “The Fire Service is under scrutiny as never before. We have all been working extremely hard in Northamptonshire to make our service a kinder, better place to work. I am proud of the way everyone has committed to reaching the highest standards of behaviour and making a difference, both to their colleagues and the wider public.

“Everyone who works in our Service should be confident to come forward and challenge unacceptable behaviour and language in any form, from anyone – no-one is above that challenge.

“I am leading the work to improve our culture and I am happy be accountable for the work we are doing to tackle misogyny and discrimination of any kind.

“But while the Commissioner is accountable to the public, he fell short of the standards we expect from ourselves, and his remarks clearly made it impossible for him to legitimately hold me and this Service to account.

“His remarks were hurtful and damaging. Over the last few days I have been contacted by many members of staff expressing their concern and outrage, which I share. I am clear that I do not want what he said to be seen as a reflection of the values we embody in Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, or the work we are doing to be better.”

Simon Tuhill said that he and his senior team will continue to ensure firefighters and staff are supported and that he is keeping in touch with the Chief Constable and the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, to see what amends can be made.

He reassured the public that work to improve diversity and culture in the Service is making a difference and will continue.

“We have high standards, and we will not accept language and behaviour that falls short of them – ever, from anyone.  Our staff are not only offended by what has happened and personally hurt, but they are angry that this might reflect badly on them and the work that they do.

“To be clear – at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, misogyny is unacceptable. Everyone who works here joins me in condemning the comments made and reassuring the public that disrespect or hate of any kind has no place in our Service.”

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