THREE fighters have been given written warnings for deliberately damaging a colleague’s property.

But Former Avon Fire Authority (AFA) chairman Cllr Don Davies said a watch manager, who was involved in the incident, would probably have been sacked in the private sector.

The incident was revealed in an annual report outlining formal disciplinary cases, grievances and employment tribunals involving Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AFRS) from April 2021 to March this year.

Head of human resources Karen Shiel told AFA people & culture committee that one grievance was raised compared with five over the previous 12 months.

She said: “That’s a female operational member of staff who claims bullying and harassment both individually on her watch but also a wider culture of sexism and inappropriate behaviour.

“This case is still ongoing and there is an employment tribunal pending, so it will be very difficult to answer any questions on that case.

“We have appointed an external investigator to deal with that case, which is almost concluded.”

She said of the 11 formal disciplinaries last year, three related to the same incident of damage to an employee’s property while on duty, with the manager involved issued with a six-month written warning and the two other male firefighters given three months.

Committee member Cllr Davies, who stepped down as North Somerset Council leader last month and was previously AFA chairman, said: “A three-month warning doesn’t seem to be much more than a slap on the wrist, really, rather than saying it’s inappropriate.

“From my experience in the private industry, if the manager did what we think he did, it may well be that that person would not be working for the organisation.

South Gloucestershire Cllr Adam Monk asked if the incident indicated a problematic culture at the station or whether it was an event that “got out of hand and people thought it was funny”.

Ms Shiel replied: “I think it’s a one-off in terms of that particular event but the messages need to be clear across all our workforce about tolerance in terms of what is banter and a prank and what is very clearly inappropriate and where that threshold is.”