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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 14:15 GMT
Fire chief sorry for 'rape' gaffe
A fire service control room
The government plans to merge control centres to save money
A fire authority chief who said fire control room staff should lie back and enjoy the 'rape' of their service, has apologised.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had earlier called for David Fox, chair of Dorset Fire Authority, to resign after he made the comments about government plans to combine and regionalise control rooms.

He claimed he was quoting from a Chinese proverb, which says "if rape is inevitable then lie down and enjoy it" and simply meant it was pointless to protest against something which was already decided.

The union said the comments were totally inappropriate to a control room environment largely staffed by women.

I now realise that the way in which I expressed myself was inappropriate and caused offence to some people
David Fox
Ruth Winters, FBU President said: "We agree that the Government changes to the fire service are appalling but his use of language is highly offensive.

"There is nothing funny or enjoyable about rape."

Mr Fox, former conservative leader of Dorset County Council, made the comments at a public meeting of the Fire Authority.

He said he opposed the government's plans, but would fight to ensure that the regional control centre was located with the Dorset Fire Service in Dorset.

He said he was trying to make the best of a bad situation, as he realised he was not going to be able to influence the government's policy.

"I now realise that the way in which I expressed myself was inappropriate and caused offence to some people," he said.

"That was not my intention, and I apologise unreservedly to those I offended."

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Fears over fire control room plans
13 Jul 03  |  England

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