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Allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and racism at Suffolk police and fire forces revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:59 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:59 02 January 2018

Suffolk police. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Suffolk police. Picture: Nick Butcher.

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Instances of inappropriate behaviour by staff at Suffolk police and fire services over the last three years have emerged – but not all have resulted in any action being taken.

Data released under Freedom of Information laws revealed that over the last three years there had been five allegations of Suffolk Constabulary staff sexually harassing a colleague – three of which were in the last 12 months.

Four racism allegations and seven allegations of bullying by staff to colleagues were also reported.

Of the sexual allegations, two resulted in management action, two went to a misconduct hearing where a final written warning was issued and one investigation is ongoing.

Of the seven officers alleged to have exchanged offensive or inappropriate messages via social media (bullying), three were given final written warnings and four handed written warnings.

A police spokesman said: “Suffolk Constabulary expects its officers and staff to uphold the code of ethics and therefore allegations of racism, bullying and inappropriate behaviour in and out of the work place are taken extremely seriously.

“Evidence is carefully and objectively reviewed by the professional standards department both from a criminal and misconduct perspective.”

The spokesman added the force’s social media policy was clear to its employees.

At Suffolk Fire and Rescue, there were two allegations of inappropriate comments, three of bullying, and one of harassment, bullying and sex discrimination since 2015. But despite the allegations just one case went to a hearing, which was not upheld, while four cases resulted in no warnings, dismissals, suspensions or misconduct hearings. One case remains ongoing.

A fire service spokesman said: “We are committed to our fire service being a great place to work, a place where all our 700 firefighters, managers and staff enjoy coming to work, feel they can be themselves and their differences are accepted as being an important and valued part of a wider team.

“We encourage staff to raise any concerns with their managers and when we receive complaints they are investigated and dealt with on their merits and in accordance with long standing county council policy.”

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