TWO convicted sex offenders were kept in employment with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, an FOI has uncovered.

The new data revealed that between 2019 and 2022, eight firefighters and staff at the service were reported to or investigated by the police for alleged sexual offences.

Of those reported and investigated, a total of four members of staff went on to be convicted.

Two of those convicted remain in Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service [DWFRS] (accurate as of March 8, 2023) and two were dismissed.

Three cases of alleged sexual offences resulted in no further action by the police.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) request did not specify where the alleged and proved sexual offences took place, but DWFRS said it “fully investigated” employee behaviour whether it occurred outside of the workplace or during working hours.

Assistant chief officer and director of people services Jenny Long said: "There is an expectation for our staff to work in line with our code of ethics, which sets out our expected behaviours.

“The vast majority of our staff work in line with these ethical principles, but unfortunately in any organisation our size there may be times when this does not happen.”

The Daily Echo asked DWFRS why staff convicted of sexual offences had been kept in employment.

Jenny said: “All staff are expected to report criminal proceedings against them and when we are notified, a robust risk assessment is undertaken.

“The risk assessment process considers the appropriateness of suspension and includes the consideration of any control measures which can be put in place as an alternative while we wait for the outcome of criminal proceedings, and before undertaking our own internal investigation.

“The nature of the offence, the outcome of any criminal proceedings and the outcome of our own investigation will inform the sanction given.

"This can range from no case to answer through to dismissal.

“Our procedure ensures that decisions are based on the balance of probabilities. In all cases, risk to the service and our communities is considered as a priority.”

Jenny also noted that in July last year, the rehabilitation of offender’s act was amended to include all Fire and Rescue Services in the exemptions, allowing them to take ‘higher level’ staff security checks.

“We continue to work hard to ensure that our organisation is a safe place”, Jenny said.