London Fire Brigade houses a toxic culture of bullying, racism and misogyny, inquiry finds: Shocking report is filled with ‘stomach-turning’ examples, including a noose found atop a black employee’s locker and a female worker’s helmet filled with urine

  • The London Fire Brigade houses a toxic culture according to a new inquiry 
  • The 70-page long report found claims of bullying, racism and misogyny 
  • One female firefighter’s helmet was filled with urine leaving her with PTSD  

The London Fire Brigade houses a toxic culture of bullying, racism and misogyny, an inquiry has found.

A 70-page report published today features ‘stomach-turning’ stories that claim abuse and bullying are normalised in the emergency service.

In one case, a female firefighter was left with post-traumatic stress disorder after her helmet was filled with urine.

Other examples of vile behaviour include a black employee finding a noose above his locker and a Muslim firefighter discovering a terrorism hotline sticker near his belongings. 

The report, seen by The Times, was commissioned after 21-year-old Jaden Francois-Esprit, a trainee at Wembley fire station, took his own life in August 2020.

The London Fire Brigade houses a toxic culture of bullying, racism and misogyny, an inquiry has found

Conducted by Nazir Afzalm, the review concluded that the service was institutionally misogynistic and racist.

‘Unless a toxic culture that allows bullying and abuse to be normalised is tackled then I fear that, like Jaden, other firefighters will tragically take their lives,’ Mr Afzalm said. In the past five years, six members of the brigade’s staff had taken their own lives.

The report also included harrowing accounts from women, who claimed to have been groped during training exercises.

One said: ‘The threshold for bullying is so high, you would have to gouge someone’s eyes out to get sacked. Everything else is seen as banter.’ 

More than 4,500 of the brigade’s 5,000 staff are firefighters, but just 425 are women and just over 500 are from ethnic minorities

More than 4,500 of the brigade’s 5,000 staff are firefighters, but just 425 are women and just over 500 are from ethnic minorities. London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said the report was ‘very sobering’.

He added: ‘There is no place for discrimination, harassment and bullying in the brigade and from today it will be completely clear to all staff what behaviour isn’t acceptable and what the consequences will be.

‘I am deeply sorry for the harm that has been caused. I will be fully accountable for improving our culture and I fully accept all of the report’s 23 recommendations.

‘I want to ensure a safe, modern workplace for the dedicated, public-spirited people at the brigade who, like me, are horrified by what this review has uncovered.’

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