British firefighters reprimanded for disturbing men cruising

Bryan Ochalla | October 05, 2007

LONDON — Four British firefighters have been suspended for up to three months for disturbing four men engaged in public sex.

According to reports, the Bristol-based firefighters were driving past an area popular with local gay men when they pointed the engine’s torches at a group of nearby bushes.

One of the men caught in the glare of those lights later contacted the Terrence Higgins Trust, a local AIDS charity, which advised him to launch a formal complaint.

Two of the firefighters were fined up to £1,000, one was demoted and another was given a warning. All will eventually attend an equality course, the Daily Mail reported.

Although the complainant is said to be pleased with the reprimands, the feeling isn’t mutual among the firefighters’ colleagues.

"This is a complete farce. All four officers have been let down by their senior officers when they needed their support the most,” one anonymous firefighter told the Daily Mail. "They have been treated as the criminals in this case and it has been completely forgotten that they witnessed criminal activity occurring in a public place."

"The service needs to take a long hard look at how it has dealt with these allegations,” another said. "There a lot of firefighters… who feel the four involved have been treated very unfairly just so the service can be seen as being politically correct."

According to Chris Jackson, a spokesman for the fire department, "The person who made the complaint was happy with the way it was dealt with. I am not at liberty to discuss anymore detail about this incident or talk about the disciplinary proceedings." – Issued by Gay Link Content

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