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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Gay march snub crew's 'mistake'
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Chief Officer Brian Sweeney
Brian Sweeney said the disciplinary action was appropriate
The chief officer of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has said nine disciplined officers "made a mistake" and should be allowed get on with their careers.

The firefighters were disciplined for refusing to hand out safety advice during a gay pride march in Glasgow.

Brian Sweeney told BBC Scotland: "They made a mistake, everyone is entitled to do that."

Mr Sweeney said dismissal was not appropriate and denied the crew had been slapped on the wrists.

The firefighters, based at Cowcaddens, refused to distribute community safety advice to people attending the Pride Scotia festival in George Square on 24 June.

We won't permit and we won't promote any racism, any sectarianism, any bias to any gender, any sexual preference
Brian Sweeney
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue chief officer

A senior officer was demoted and the others received warning letters.

All are to attend a course in diversity training.

Mr Sweeney said: "This is a strong disciplinary action that is very serious, that's placed on their personal record file that puts them in a very difficult employment position, so this is not a mild slap on the wrists.

"In the tribunal if dismissal was the appropriate remedy for the offence that had been committed then they would have been dismissed.

"Clearly the tribunal didn't take that view and I support them on that.

"I think the important feature is that all nine firefighters have now said that given the same circumstances they would go out and would have done that work - a concession on their part that they should have done that job."

He added: "They need to be allowed to get on and protect those communities across Scotland that they do so well."

The chief officer vowed to provide public protection irrespective of background.

He said: "We won't permit and we won't promote any racism, any sectarianism, any bias to any gender, any sexual preference."


SEE ALSO
Gay snub firefighters disciplined
31 Aug 06 |  Glasgow and West
March snub hearing for fire crew
28 Aug 06 |  Glasgow and West
Firefighters face discipline case
26 Jul 06 |  Glasgow and West
Crew reported over gay pride snub
18 Jul 06 |  Glasgow and West
Thousands attend gay pride march
24 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West

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