THE behaviour of some Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service staff gives "cause for concern", according to inspectors.

The service was praised in a HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services report for "notable improvements" in its performances in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks.

However, it adds: "But it needs to improve the way it looks after its people."

Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services said she was pleased with "the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the service"

But she added: "We have identified a new cause of concern based on the behaviours of some staff.

"The executive board clearly intends to improve the culture of the service. But more needs to be done.

"We have found evidence of poor behaviours that are not in line with service values.

"A common theme during our inspection was that some staff groups didn’t feel respected or valued."

She added that more must be done to ensure recruitment and promotion processes are fair as many firefighters feel frustrated at the way jobs are awarded.

Positive points were increased fitness levels among firefighters and a greater availability of on-call fire engines.

And the appointment of an operational risk officer and a prevention officer has ensured a joined-up approach to prevention, protection and response at high-rise premises.

Ms Williams added: "Fire and rescue services should continually review whether its resources are located to respond to areas of greatest risks.

"The service has done this by closing fire stations, allowing it to relocate resources where the risks are greater.

"It also reviewed its duty systems and explored the removal of second and third fire engines at some stations.

"And it introduced a voluntary Pay for Availability scheme for its on‑call firefighters."

The service was again rated 'good' for effectiveness, while efficiency was upgraded from 'requires improvement' to 'good', although people remained 'requires improvement'.

Devon and Somerset Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: “We are really pleased that the progress we have made since the last inspection in 2019 has been recognised by HMI.

"In particular, we are delighted to have increased a grade.

"We know we have more to do and will continue to focus time, effort and resource on our continuous improvement agenda.”