The Island and Hampshire's deputy police and crime commissioner has come under fire after suggesting that the percentage of women working in a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service department should be reduced.

At a meeting on Tuesday, a report on equality objectives outlined plans for a more inclusive fire service - hiring more women and people from minority ethnic groups.

Deputy police and crime commissioner, Luke Stubbs, said: "Government and I think this is wrong. [It] is bringing in quota programmes across the public sector, but only where it benefits women and minorities.

"In areas where it’s mostly men it has to be 50/50, but in areas where it’s mostly women there’s no change.

"Things like the control room have 84 per cent women and I would like assurance that steps are being taken to reduce that."

Other members of the meeting were critical of Mr Stubbs’ views.

Women’s charities said his comments could deter women and minorities from applying to work for the fire service.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service said equality quotas did not exist and anyone can apply to work for the emergency service.

Mr Stubbs said: "I can express whichever views I wish – these are my personal views and I think they are shared by the majority of the public.

"I’ve not seen any surveys, but that’s what I believe."

Last year Mr Stubbs, who is also a Conservative councillor on Portsmouth City Council, told colleagues that gender pay gaps are a ‘fake narrative’ and that he believes ‘men are the victims.’

The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, believes Mr Stubbs’ comments may in fact hinder firefighter recruitment.

Its chief executive, Jemima Olchawski said: "Luke Stubbs’s comments are unhelpful and uninformed – the data clearly shows us white men are definitely not being left behind.

"More than 90 per cent of firefighters in England are male and white, and it’s clear that the profession must recruit and retain both women and people from minority communities.

"But the deputy commissioner’s remarks will have the opposite effect – the absence of women in roles across the emergency services is not of their making and there is so much that organisations can do to improve diversity and make sure they recruit and retain the best talent, from quality flexible working to robust systems to respond to harassment.

"Luke Stubbs should be looking at how the fire service, which is currently dominated by men at every level, can enact cultural change and working practices to become inclusive for everyone – not just white men."

Meanwhile, Hampshire Constabulary, which Mr Stubbs helps shape, is led by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, the outgoing head of police on the Isle of Wight is Superintendent Sarah Jackson and Mr Stubb's boss, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the two counties, is Donna Jones.

The fire service’s head of people and organisational development, Molly Rowland, said: "We are committed to reflecting the many diverse communities that we serve, and this means reaching out to attract those who have been historically under-represented in our organisation.

"Some people may never consider the fire service as a career or think that the role of a firefighter is for them. We want to make sure that members of all our different communities know what we do, who we are, and consider us as a potential employer.

"Our recruitment will always be open to everyone and all of those who apply will have to go through the same selection processes and reach the same standards."

Police and crime commissioner Donna Jones was approached for comment.