NFCC urges change amid allegations of sexism in Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

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NFCC calls for cultural reform in fire and rescue services

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has issued a strong statement addressing the need for cultural change within the UK fire and rescue services, following recent allegations of sexism reported by ITV.

The statement emphasized that misogyny and derogatory language are “entirely unacceptable” and that such behaviour has no place in the sector.

“Our number one priority is to tackle poor culture where it is found to exist and ensure that our sector is a safe and welcoming place for all people to work,” the NFCC stated.

They acknowledged the slow pace of progress across the sector and the courageous efforts of those speaking out not just for justice but for change.

Recent allegations stir controversy

This call for action comes in response to reports from ITV on 23 April 2024, uncovering disturbing messages exchanged by senior officers at the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The chief fire officer and his assistant were found to have used offensive language towards female colleagues. The messages were particularly targeted at Area Manager Jan Morris, who resigned after discovering the comments.

Adam Matthews, the assistant chief fire officer, was quoted in these messages from February last year, further disparaging Morris and other female colleagues.

The exposure of these messages has led to public outcry and intensified scrutiny of the service’s workplace environment.

Impact on individuals and sector scrutiny

Jan Morris, affected by the offensive remarks, told ITV News: “I’ve lost my career. I’m stepping away from the job I’ve loved for 26 years because I’ve been made to feel so devalued and unwelcome.”

Her departure highlights the personal and professional toll such incidents can have on individuals.

The NFCC reaffirmed their commitment to improving the culture within fire and rescue services and supporting those who have bravely spoken out.

The recent allegations have prompted a wider discussion on the need for systemic change across the sector.

IFSJ Comment

The recent revelations about the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service underscore a critical need for cultural transformation within fire and rescue services across the UK.

Ensuring a respectful and inclusive workplace is crucial not just for the well-being of the employees but for the integrity and effectiveness of the fire and rescue services as a whole.

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