Responding to the findings of His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report released today that recorded allegations of racism, misogyny, and homophobia in 11 of the 44 fire and rescue services in England, Black Equity Organisation Chief Executive, Dr Wanda Wyporska said:
“Staff reports of discrimination within fire and rescue services in England are shocking but not surprising. Last year BEO heard disturbing accounts of racism, misogyny and homophobia in the London Fire Brigade (LFB). An investigation into the culture at the LFB, triggered by the tragic suicide of 21-year-old Black firefighter Jaden Matthew Francois-Esprit, found that staff from minority backgrounds were “frequently the target of racist abuse” and identified ‘dangerous levels of ingrained prejudice against women’.
“Institutions can no longer hide behind the notion that the actions of a few bad apples are dragging them down. The scale of the alleged discrimination and the incidents highlighted in the report by staff suggests there is a systemic problem that needs a root and branch solution.
“BEO supports the recommendations from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services for more muscular background checks and for those found to be racist, misogynistic or homophobic to be barred from the service. Those already in the service who fall below the standards set by the inspectors must be sacked. That is the minimum the public deserve and expect from the emergency services we all pay for.”