A Conservative councillor is seeking to overturn the punishment of four firefighters from Avon Fire and Rescue Service who were reported after shining torches on gay men cruising in Bristol Downs.
Councillor Spud Murphy labelled the decision to discipline the men for misuse of fire equipment and bringing the service into disrepute after the incident in June as “barmy”, echoing outrage already shown by the tabloids.
One of the men caught in the firefighter’s torchlight later filed a complaint under advice from charity Terrence Higgins Trust.
After a three month investigation, during which the unidentified firefighters were on paid suspension, two were fined £1000, one was demoted and one received a written warning.
They will all now attend an equality course called Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender Equality in the Fire Service – An Absolute Taboo?
Mr Murphy said: “I completely disagree with the line that has been taken by senior officers.
“More time and energy would have been better spent by the police actually investigating the criminal and lewd activity that regularly takes place at this location,” he told the Bristol Evening Post.
He added that the investigation had been a waste of money.
“I shall be raising this issue at the next meeting of the Avon Fire Authority and will be seeking to overturn this barmy decision.”
Louise Hart, spokeswoman for Avon Fire and Rescue Service, told the Post:
“Councillor Spud Murphy is entitled to hold a view on this matter.
“If he chooses to raise this as a question at Avon Fire Authority’s meeting in December this will be a matter for the chair of the authority to consider.”
Avon Fire and Rescue Service is holding a conference in Bristol next week on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in the fire service.
None of the alleged cruisers have faced any legal action.