Shropshire Star

Shropshire fire service launches independent investigation amid 'inappropriate messages' complaint

An independent investigation is underway after two senior Shropshire fire officers were accused of sending sexist messages about a female colleague.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said an independent investigation was underway

The details of the messages, which have been published by ITV, indicate that a series of derogatory and offensive terms were shared between two senior male colleagues at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on WhatsApp.

ITV said that a number of the messages target one female colleague.

The Shropshire Star has not seen the original copies of the messages, but Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has responded confirming an 'independent' investigation is underway regarding "inappropriate messages".

It added that staff would be held accountable "regardless of their position".

The service has issued a statement on the matter, saying: “We are aware of allegations made against officers within Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"These complaints are being externally and independently investigated and we will take all appropriate actions when it has been completed.

“The service takes all complaints extremely seriously and hold all our staff accountable, regardless of their position.

“We will share any outcomes of these investigations in due course.”

Only last month Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said that another independent review had found "no evidence of current discriminatory practices".

Speaking at the time, Chief Fire Officer Simon Hardiman said the report was "hugely encouraging".

He said: "It did not find a toxic culture and there was no evidence of current discriminatory practices and/or behaviours. However, there are some areas that we need to improve on and develop.

“Our intention is not to shy away from opportunities to better ourselves, but to embrace the learning that has come out of the report in order to further create a positive and inclusive place to work."