Dorset and Wiltshire's fire service 'shocked and appalled' amid allegations of criminal behaviour
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is launching its own investigation after being "extremely shocked and appalled" amid allegations of criminal behaviour.
Dorset Police were alerted following claims that firefighters at the emergency service allegedly photographed dead bodies of women at the scene of car accidents.
ITV News carried out an exclusive investigation and reported the sharing of images on a WhatsApp group.
The group included male firefighters who allegedly made degrading comments about victims.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to the investigation, and said: "The matters you have raised with us are deeply concerning and we take allegations of this nature extremely seriously.
"As allegations of criminal behaviour are involved, we have immediately alerted the police so the appropriate action can be taken.
"I am also commissioning an independent investigation. As part of this investigation, I will be providing all of our female staff with the opportunity to speak to an independent organisation.
"It is vital to have their help in identifying any inappropriate behaviour – in a modern fire and rescue service there is absolutely no place for it.
"In addition, we have set up a confidential helpline so if any of our staff have immediate issues as a result of these allegations, the right support is in place."
One whistleblower, speaking anonymously, told ITV News: "There’s explicit pictures, there’s photos of accidents, sometimes you can even see the dead body in the accident.
"Retrieving the body of someone dead should tear you apart, not make you want to take photos of it, just to joke about it later because that’s someone’s loved one, isn’t it? That’s someone’s relative.
"I’ve seen people say comments about the type of underwear the women are wearing in the car crash.
"It disgusts me that I have to work alongside people like this. People aren’t in the job for the right reason. I think they’re just power hungry and they get off on it."
The service also said: “There is an expectation for our staff to work in line with our code of ethics which sets out high levels of expected behaviours.
"The vast majority of our staff are good people, working hard and doing a great job. But when and if those standards are not met, we will move quickly to address it.
"Where people do come forward with concerns, we conduct thorough investigations in accordance with our disciplinary procedures.
"We are extremely shocked and appalled to hear about these allegations. We would ask that ITN or any individuals affected, provide us with further information to allow us to investigate these allegations and to enable us to offer our support to them."