Hampshire deputy police and crime commissioner 'needs to answer' for controversial equality comments

A DEPUTY police and crime commissioner 'needs to answer for' saying the number of women in some fire service departments should be 'reduced', politicians have said.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 5:31 pm

Hampshire deputy crime commissioner Luke Stubbs made the comments at a meeting of Hampshire Fire Authority as the county's fire service presented a report about improving equality for women and minorities.

His comments, as reported earlier this week by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, have been widely criticised by firefighters.

Politicians on Hampshire County Council's police and crime panel, which approved Mr Stubbs' £65,000 per year appointment, have said he must answer for his comments.

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Luke Stubbs, deputy police and crime commissioner

Conservative representative from Gosport, Councillor John Beavis MBE, said: 'The police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, will not stand for anything like this.

'He needs to answer for what he said.'

Cllr Trevor Cartwright MBE, Conservative representative for Fareham, added: 'There should be no discrimination towards anybody, no matter who they are.

'What happens to Mr Stubbs now is down to the police and crime commissioner herself.'

Firefighters from across the country have also been fiercely critical of Mr Stubbs' comments.

Samantha Samuels, operations group commander for West Midlands Fire Service, tweeted: 'I thought a deputy PCC should be there to support protection and service to all communities.

'Blinkered and naive views such as these have no place in our modern day fire service.'

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Hampshire's deputy police and crime commissioner Luke Stubbs says fire service e...

Retired deputy chief fire officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Steve Apter, tweeted: 'The fire service is doing better in recruiting a more diverse workforce but has a long way to go - [this is] a really unhelpful and Ill considered piece from the deputy PCC.'

Deputy chief fire officer for Oxfordshire, Grahame Mitchell, added: 'As an ally I normally “call in” our amazing staff, and discuss prejudice, but on occasion we also have to call out those with views that challenge our values and ethics.

'It's never to late to apologise to our woman’s network.'

It comes as this year's state of fire report, written by Her Majesty's chief inspector of fire and rescue services Sir Thomas Winsor, said: 'Diversity and race equality in the fire sector continues to be woeful.

'We have seen continued low joiner rates from groups with protected characteristics. New recruits will only be attracted by, and must be able to join, a workforce that is fair, open and inclusive.'

Last year, Mr Stubbs, who is also a Conservative councillor on Portsmouth City Council, told colleagues that gender pay gaps are a ‘fake narrative’ and that he believes ‘men are the victims’.

In 2017 he reportedly urged John Lewis customers to burn their loyalty cards after the store decided to removed ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ labels from children’s clothes.

Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Police Federation declined to comment.

Both said it was a matter for the police and crime commissioner.

Mrs Jones was approached for comment.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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