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My Story the Whitby RNLI hero sacked over a light hearted joke

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The story of Joe Winspear in his own words As many of you know I was recently stood down by the RNLI for a breach of the Code of Conduct and finally today I am able to tell you my side of the story as I have been kept quiet by the RNLI until are appeal hearing was completed.

Firstly I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has contacted us and supported us though this entire nightmare. Sorry I haven’t got back to you all as of yet hopefully I will soon.

Today myself and Ben received the decision that will not be reinstated to the Whitby Lifeboat Crew which for us is a heart breaking decision as all we have ever wanted to do was to save lives at sea.

The mugs where a light hearted joke between the crew of which no one of the crew was offended. Many of you will know that from time to time we have to see and deal with circumstances that no one should ever have to deal with of which I have received limited if any support from the RNLI after events like that.

The mugs were found by an Area Lifesaving Manager and we as a crew were told that if they were taken off the station no further action would be taken. They were taken off station within 48 hours.

2 months later we received emails from the RNLI stating that we were under investigation for a breach of the Code of Conduct and we had to attend a mandatory interview.

I was hounded for days to arrange an interview which I did for Thursday 15th March and we were told that we couldn’t have anyone sit in on the interview, which after consulting with my solicitor I should have been able to.

After our interviews I was told this would be resolved within the next week. As a crew we were then told it was mandatory to attend a crew meeting on the 19th April for us to be updated on the progress of the investigation and provide the opportunity for feedback.

within the meeting we were talked down, laughed at by a highly paid Inclusion & Diversity Manager for the RNLI on points we were trying to raise and in my opinion completely disrespected for the volunteer role we do.

On the 24th of April I was then asked to attend a hearing meeting for the 30th of April. I had to take a day off work to attend this meeting.

I was accused of being threatening and abusive towards a member of staff at the meeting held on the 19th of April which is completely false and I haven’t received an apology for and my impression was there for me to beg to stay on the crew.

The next day I was contacted by the Hearing Manager and was sacked/stood down on the telephone, that conversation lasted less than 60 seconds. Since then we have had a huge media reaction and the RNLI have released several press releases making myself out in a extremely bad light.

I feel that the punishment doesn’t reflect the situation – the mug wasn’t intended to be kept on Station. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but it seems the RNLI don’t give second chances. I have been a dedicated volunteer and feel I have been made an example of.

All of this has cost the institution thousand of pounds which is money supposed to be used to save lives at sea. Many of you will have seen in the Daily Mail the recent recruitment advertisement for a Safeguard Officer with a £40,000+ a year salary another just small example of the spending with the RNLI.

If you give money to the RNLI and you don’t request it to been reserved for a particular station then it’s placed in the central pot and will be used to to investigate crew members throughout the county just a few being St Helier, Scarborough, Arbroath, Whitby, Bridlington, Filey, Cleethorpes and New Brighton.

Designate the funds to your local station. But unfortunately today I received the news on my appeal and that the decision to stand me down has been upheld. Anybody that’s knows me will know that I am Lifeboat through and through and today’s news is devastating. Whitby 21 signing off.

The RNLI have released a statement to Police Hour RNLI Statement 

“Following a fair and robust investigation and appeal process, we have upheld our decision to stand down two crew members from Whitby RNLI.

“Volunteers are entitled to appeal against our decisions and each case is considered on an individual basis. In this case, no new evidence was presented to us and we stand by our original decision.

“We recognise the years of dedication it takes to become a crew member and do not stand volunteers down lightly. But, like any emergency service, the RNLI sets high standards and expects all its volunteers and staff to set an example, not just in terms of their maritime expertise but also in their behaviour and respect for others.

“One volunteer was stood down for social media activity which targeted a member of RNLI staff without their knowledge and produced graphic sexual images which went far beyond banter.

“The other volunteer produced a hardcore pornographic image of a fellow crew member on a mug. Some newspapers created their own image of a mug, but the actual image produced by the volunteer was so graphic that no newspaper would be able to print it without breaking the law.

“We will continue to challenge any inappropriate behaviours and practices by staff or volunteers, and we do this for the thousands of volunteers who are committed to doing the right thing as they operate our 238 lifeboat stations 24/7.

“The remaining volunteer crew at Whitby are working closely with the RNLI to operate an effective lifesaving operation at Whitby lifeboat station. We would ask the local community to continue to support our volunteers, in what has been a challenging time, as they remain dedicated to saving lives on the Yorkshire coast.”

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Awww Cleveland Police have just recruited these four legged friends

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Put your paws up for our two new recruits, Maggie and Skye who are the newest and youngest additions to the Force. At just 12 weeks old, the two English Springer Spaniels will soon begin their training to become Specialist Search Dogs.

Dog Trainer Constable Darren Gobie and Police Constable Chris Lambert are the lucky handlers of the pups. PC Lambert teamed up with a year 4 class at Myton Park School in Ingleby Barwick and allowed them to choose Skye’s name.

Chris and Skye will regularly visit the school over the next 18 months to allow them to follow her training process.

Speaking of the collaboration with the school, PC Lambert said: “I thought it would be a great idea to tie in with a school in the local community.

Recruiting new dogs is a huge deal and it’s an exciting and educational opportunity for the pupils to meet a police dog, choose her name collectively as a team and to better understand the training process for police dogs, and police roles in general.

The children were delighted to participate in this and I am sure they will all build a lovely bond with Skye over the coming months.”

PC Lambert, along with partner agencies will also be using the visits to the school to deliver lessons on internet safety and safety around animals.

The officers and the dogs will need to work very closely as team throughout the training process to build a special bond together.

Training is both mentally and physically challenging for both the dogs and handlers, as every programme must be passed to qualify.

Specialist dogs are used to detect a range of things with their highly developed sense of smell such as money, explosives, drugs and firearms.

They are also trained to work in public places including licenses premises to search for people in possession of narcotics.

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Storm Hector is on the way bringing severe gales

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Another strom is set to hit parts of the UK going by the name of Hector.

People are being warned that severe gales are on the way which will impact those travelling tomorrow.

A yellow warning has been issued as severe gales will hit parts of the UK.

The Met Office say Strom Hector is heading for rhe UK and will bring strong winds during Thursday.

The Met Office have issued a yellow warning meaning ‘be aware’ as winds are set to come between 3am until 3pm which is likely to cause disruption to roads, rail and cause powercuts.

A Met Office spokesman said: “The strongest winds will reach the west coast during the early hours of Thursday before spreading eastwards during the day.

“Westerly winds are likely to gust between 50 and 60mph in many areas and possibly around 70mph in some exposed locations.

“Winds should gradually ease from the west during Thursday afternoon.”There may be a chance of longer journey times or cancellations as road, rail, air and ferry services are affected.”

“People have also been warned that buildings could be damaged and to take care near the coastline due to large waves and material potentially being thrown onto sea fronts.”

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My Story It is time to say goodbye to the RNLI after 15 years

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The Story Of Ben Laws who served 15 years at Whitby RNLI.

After 15 years Ben was one of two dismissed from the RLNI following what is described as a bit if banter with the lads.

He wrote “I’m Sad to say goodbye to the rnli today, it’s been a great 15 years ive met and served with some awesome lads and lasses. And there wives girlfriends family’s fowls etc.

“you’ve all been great and one time we were a great big happy family down there. We’ve had some s**t horrendous jobs,

“some mint jobs saved loads of lives ,dogs ,deers sinking trawlers cut offs plane crashes tow ins wound up boats injured people steamed 40 mile in the fog for a guy with toothe ache,

“recovered too many unfortunate people who didn’t make it, but we always did it with pride respect and dignity. 3 words the rnli could do with looking up in the dictionary.

“Me and joe have been the brunt of a witch hunt and massive cover up our stations regional management have hung us out to dry and just disposed of us without a care in the world.

“our coxwain wouldn’t even speak to us through this horrible time or show us any support or guidance when we were getting hounded by the national press 24/7 which is very hard to swallow after being at sea for 15 years together and supposedly a friend.

“Out of all of this no good has come just a massive wedge driven into the crew and 6 good crew members gone. I hope the rnli do there job properly now and get rid of all the true problems at Whitby rnli now from management down to the snakes on the crew who keep leaking everything to the press.

“Hopefully they will see sence and wake up and see the real problems at Whitby and try and make it better for the good of the public who we are supposed to be keeping safe.

“All the best and stay safe on the boat all you good ones as we all no there are bad ones among you and thanks for everything and all the good times Il miss you all.”

Following the incident a number of crew members have resigned their role within the RNLI

Steve Boocock wrote “Well today it is confirmed, along with Joe, Ben, Martyn, and Neil, my time on Whitby Lifeboat crew has come to an end!

“I have enjoyed the last 18 years of service, worked with some great lads and lasses and served under some legendary coxswains.

“I really wanted to reach my 20 years but sadly recent events and some disgraceful decisions by the RNLI has put that ambition to bed.

“Thanks to all those who i have served with for all those years and also to those who passed their wealth of knowledge on to me, and Although ive seen some horrendous stuff during my time, the vast majority of the time its been a right ord scream.

“Finally, a massive thanks to Mike Russell for being the best coxswain ever and someone we all looked upto. Your boots will never ever be filled.

“Thanks all, and good night!”

The RNLI have released a statement to Police Hour RNLI Statement

“Following a fair and robust investigation and appeal process, we have upheld our decision to stand down two crew members from Whitby RNLI.

“Volunteers are entitled to appeal against our decisions and each case is considered on an individual basis. In this case, no new evidence was presented to us and we stand by our original decision.

“We recognise the years of dedication it takes to become a crew member and do not stand volunteers down lightly. But, like any emergency service, the RNLI sets high standards and expects all its volunteers and staff to set an example, not just in terms of their maritime expertise but also in their behaviour and respect for others.

“One volunteer was stood down for social media activity which targeted a member of RNLI staff without their knowledge and produced graphic sexual images which went far beyond banter.

“The other volunteer produced a hardcore pornographic image of a fellow crew member on a mug. Some newspapers created their own image of a mug, but the actual image produced by the volunteer was so graphic that no newspaper would be able to print it without breaking the law.

“We will continue to challenge any inappropriate behaviours and practices by staff or volunteers, and we do this for the thousands of volunteers who are committed to doing the right thing as they operate our 238 lifeboat stations 24/7.

“The remaining volunteer crew at Whitby are working closely with the RNLI to operate an effective lifesaving operation at Whitby lifeboat station. We would ask the local community to continue to support our volunteers, in what has been a challenging time, as they remain dedicated to saving lives on the Yorkshire coast.”

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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