North Wales Fire Chief has shared her thoughts following a damning report on services in England indicating a culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination. 

The report on the values and culture of all 44 fire and rescue services (FRSs) in England documents racist, sexist and homophobic comments and behaviours which had gone unchallenged or been dismissed as “banter”.

Humiliating new recruits, acting out a rape, expecting women to make the tea and thinking the use of racist language is just “having a laugh” are among examples of unacceptable behaviour.

The “deeply troubling” findings have “shocked and appalled” His Majesty’s Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services Roy Wilsher, who said the sector “needs to be brought into the 21st century”.

Reflecting on the report, Chief Fire Officer for North Wales Fire and Rescue Dawn Docx, said:“His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report into values and culture focuses on fire and rescue services in England but never the less the commitment to an open, inclusive and welcoming culture relates to us all - there is absolutely no place for discrimination, bullying or harassment in any fire and rescue service.

“As a modern-day fire and rescue service we have made significant improvements in our culture in recent years and our core values, which include valuing our people and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, are woven throughout everything we do.

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“In North Wales we will be looking at the report recommendations and how these fit with our own current work in this area – as no fire and rescue service can afford to be complacent and there remains room for improvement for us all.

“I would also echo the response to the report the National Fire Chiefs Council.

“There is still a huge amount of work to ensure an inclusive culture is consistent in UK fire and rescue services and is embedded. However, it is also important to note that HMICFRS recognises there are areas of good practice to learn from and that most staff already act with inclusion and integrity. We must harness the learning from those fire and rescue services, as well as from our partners, who have made substantial progress establishing an inclusive workplace. By addressing these difficult issues together, we will ensure we continue to have a fire and rescue service that we can all be proud to be part of.

“A new NFCC action plan will be produced and published within a month – this will include actions that respond to the recommendations outlined in the report. The action plan will help to deliver the change needed to ensure inclusive fire and rescue services. NFCC has also committed to establishing an external, independent expert advisory panel to provide challenge, support, and scrutiny of this plan.”