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Commitment Statement

"Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (the Service) are committed to working alongside our partners and community stakeholders to ensure that all individuals can safely live, work and visit the counties of Devon and Somerset, by focusing upon preventing emergencies from occurring and thus preventing loss of life and protection from injury to people or property.

When an incident such as a fire, flood or road traffic collision does occur, the Service will respond to save life. The Service actively seeks to engage with those who are in the greatest need in our communities, recognising that we serve an increasingly diverse populace and are committed to ensuring that everyone receives a similar standard of service regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity or any other human characteristic.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service regularly assess the needs of individuals within our communities to ensure that the service being delivered meets their needs most efficiently and effectively within the constraints of budget and resource. Our workforce engage in prevention, protection and response activities on a daily basis with our communities and the Service are actively working to ensure its workforce reflects the communities being served. As such, the Service is committed to ensuring that all staff have access to equal opportunity regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity or any other human characteristic."

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer

Human Rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in October 2000 and enabled people to enforce the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK courts. Article 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998 refers to the prohibition of discrimination, and states that the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention on Human Rights shall be secured without discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

In practice, taking a human rights approach to equality means Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service reaches beyond the protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010 and applies the same consideration of needs in relation to Human Rights. This means we consider issues beyond the ‘protected characteristics’ which could affect communities accessing our services or opportunities, such as rurality and economic deprivation our service delivery.

The Human Rights Act urges public authorities to apply a human rights framework to decision making across public services in order to achieve better service provision. Applying a ‘human rights framework’ means including core human rights values, such as equality, dignity, privacy, respect and involvement in decision making, whether a public service is being delivered directly to the public or a new plan or procedure is being devised.

The convention rights concern not only matters of life and death, such as freedom from torture and being killed, but also what people can say and do, and their beliefs. Rights can be grouped into three categories, absolute rights which the state can never take away, limited rights such as the right to liberty and qualified rights, which require a balance between the rights of individuals and the wider community.

Human rights include (but are not limited to) the right to:

  • life
  • freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • liberty and security
  • respect for private and family life
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly and association
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion
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