POLICE are urging anyone with details of allegations relating firefighters photographing and sharing images of women who had died in car crashes to contact the force.

Dorset Police is leading enquiries in relation to allegations made over behaviour by male firefighters at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Whistle-blowers within the fire service approached ITV News alleging that firefighters made degrading comments about deceased females, including about their underwear.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service made Dorset Police and Wiltshire Police aware of the ITV investigation.

“The limited details available in the news report are of a very concerning nature but will have understandably caused concern amongst the public and especially families of victims. We share that concern and will robustly investigate any information or evidence that is shared with us.

“Following liaison between Wiltshire Police and Dorset Police, it has been decided that Dorset will take the lead in the enquiries.

“Unfortunately, neither force has so far been provided with any specific details as to the precise allegations. ITV has been approached to disclose any information it has regarding these allegations, which could potentially be used as evidence, but it has yet to do so.

“We would urge anyone who has any details regarding the matter to contact Dorset Police.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk/contact or by calling 101, quoting Operation Pine. Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling Freephone 0800 555 111.”

One female firefighter, speaking anonymously, told ITV News: “I've seen people make comments about the type of underwear the women are wearing in the car crash.

“Retrieving the body of someone dead should tear you apart, not make you want to take photos of it, just to joke about it later.

“Because that's someone's loved one, isn't it? That's someone's relative.”

Chief fire officer Ben Ansell said he was “extremely shocked and appalled” to hear about the allegations but defended the “vast majority” of staff as “good people”.

Mr Ansell said he had commissioned an independent investigation, which will include giving all female staff the opportunity to speak to an independent organisation.

“We are extremely shocked and appalled to hear about these allegations,” Mr Ansell said.

“We would ask that ITN or any individuals affected, provide us with further information to allow us to investigate these allegations and to enable us to offer our support to them.”