Police expose Gloucestershire firefighter as whistleblower

Stewart EdgarImage copyright Gloucestershire County Council
Image caption Stewart Edgar sold off a vehicle below the market value then later bought it himself

A firefighter says he has “gone through hell” after the police mistakenly exposed his identity to his colleagues when he reported his fire chief.

Gloucestershire’s former chief fire officer Stewart Edgar resigned after he undersold a service-owned Land Rover then later bought it for himself.

Tom Oakes told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that police passed the file to his employers by mistake.

Gloucestershire Police said it had apologised for the distress it caused.

‘Horrendous’

Mr Oakes, who served as a firefighter for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) for 13 years, said the police’s treatment of him was “shocking”.

He said: “The last four months have been horrendous, I’ve been through all sorts.

“A month after I put in the criminal complaint, I was called by the police and they started off apologising to me and they informed me that instead of investigating it accordingly, my information had been handed straight to GFRS.

“They exposed me completely to my employer.”

Mr Oakes said the stress of the situation led to him taking time off from work.

‘Police made it worse’

Asked why he reported Mr Edgar to police, Mr Oakes said: “I thought somebody had to step in and do it.”

“When I did do it, the police just made it worse.”

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said the error was a “genuine mistake”.

“This complaint was dealt with by way of local resolution and the complainant informed of the outcome.

“This outcome was subsequently appealed to the Independent Appeals Officer and the appeal was not upheld,” the spokesman said.

An investigation into the sale of the 4×4 is ongoing, a file has been handed to the Crown Prosecution Service and no-one has been charged.

Back to: Gloucestershire News

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