Former Dorset and Wiltshire fire service chief retired – weeks after gross misconduct ruling

A TOP firefighter retired from the Dorset and Wiltshire service on a full pension – just weeks after being found to have sexually harassed female staff.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Byron Standen left DWFRS – without sanction – in June last year.

It is now emerged, after an investigation by ITV News, that Mr Standen had been found guilty of gross misconduct by an internal investigation just weeks before.

DWFRS said he was able to step down without sanction due to the length of the investigation.

The revelation comes just weeks after DWFRS Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell responded to claims firefighters took part in misogynistic and sexist behaviour, including taking and sharing photographs of female crash victims.

Chief Fire Officer Ansell is now facing scrutiny after saying last week he did ‘not accept’ the service had a problem with such behaviour.

Current Chief Fire Officer, Lee Ansell

Current Chief Fire Officer, Lee Ansell

DWFRS has not revealed the exact charges Mr Standen was found guilty of, with the possibility some were not upheld.

However, the former third in command at the service has confirmed he was found guilty of gross misconduct before leaving.

Mr Standen has also not responded to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the service told ITV News: “We can confirm that following an independent investigation that on May 22, 2022, an individual was found by a disciplinary committee on the balance of probabilities to have committed gross misconduct.

“The sanction for such gross misconduct was summary dismissal.

“To the frustration and disappointment of the service, the individual had earlier already given notice of his intention to retire, and, given the length and complexities of the investigation, he was able to retire before the sanction could take effect.”


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