STATEMENT: HMICFRS values and culture in fire and rescue services report

A statement from the Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton: “I accept the findings from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service’s (HMICFRS) report into culture within the fire and rescue sector. These findings form part of our inspection carried out in autumn 2021.

“As deeply uncomfortable as the findings are, I commend the courage and bravery of those who’ve spoken up to raised awareness of the abhorrent behaviours they have experienced.

“But during this inspection from HMICFRS, inspectors found that ‘the service has established a culture of continual learning and improvement’.

“I acknowledge that the service’s improvement journey is still continuing, and we are taking a proactive approach to reforming the culture within West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service by welcoming an external organisation into the service to carry out a cultural development programme to ensure all our staff understand and deliver their work in line with our expected values and behaviours, as detailed in the Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services. We are also in the process of establishing an external and confidential reporting line for our staff.

“I will take some time to review the findings in more detail, and work with my colleagues across the country to look at how we can embed the recommendations into the sector.

“As Chief Fire Officer of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, creating a culture where staff feel valued, respected and equal is a key priority, and I will continue to focus our efforts on improving the culture for all our staff, and the communities we serve.”