After new data disclosed that 163 disciplinary cases were heard against workers over a two-year period, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, issued a warning that there is “no hiding place” for employees of the London Fire Brigade (LFB).
According to the data that was acquired by the BBC, the allegations, which included inappropriate use of social media, were investigated from 2020-22.
After an investigation into eight separate incidents, it was determined that members of staff had engaged in “inappropriate behavior.”
When it comes to discrimination, LFB claims it has “zero tolerance” for the practice.
According to the findings, the cases that were investigated covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from tardiness and pornography to financial fraud and other irregularities in the financial sector.
Nearly 5,000 people are employed by the LFB, and the organization has acknowledged that it investigated 11 cases of “inappropriate language,” which included inappropriate use of social media. Of these investigations, eight resulted in more serious written and final warning letters.
The brigade declined to provide a breakdown of the instances and specifics of those cases, but they did state that those cases were not documented as being sexist, racist, or homophobic.
Concerned about “unacceptable behaviour,” including discrimination and bullying, fire service inspectors moved LFB into a type of special measures known as an “enhanced degree of monitoring” in the month of December.
‘More must be done.’
A distinct and damning investigation into the culture of LFB found that it was “institutionally misogynist and racist,” which prompted the organization to take action.
Mr Khan expressed to the BBC that he would keep the London Fire Brigade (LFB) accountable and work to reform the culture and processes of the organization.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office stated that “urgent work” would continue to be done in order to root out any firefighters or staff members who were found to be responsible for sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, bullying, or harassment.
“A portion of this work has already begun with the establishment of a new independent squad to investigate complaints and a commitment to record firefighter interactions with the public using Body Worn Video.
“However, the mayor has made it abundantly clear that there can be no hiding place for those who misuse their position of trust and authority within the brigade. To get rid of everyone who is unfit to serve in the brigade, more work must be done, and it must be done swiftly.
Andy Roe, the Fire Commissioner of London, has stated in the past that there is no room in the brigade for discrimination, harassment, or bullying, and he has appointed an external agency, the External Complaints Service, to review historic complaints and to handle new ones.
An LFB spokeswoman issued the following statement in reaction to the BBC’s acquisition of the most recent data: “We publish weekly data about the work of the external body and we encourage staff and members of the public to report any poor behavior to them.”
“If there are allegations of serious wrongdoing and they are found to be true, the employee will be fired.”
Since February 2022, when it was discovered that Metropolitan Police officers stationed at Charing Cross had joked about raping, killing black children, and beating their wives, offensive communication on social media platforms like WhatsApp has been in the spotlight.
After the conclusions were published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the Metropolitan Police Department (Met), which is also supervised by Mr Khan, issued a statement saying it was “deeply sorry.”