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4th December 2022

UoM’s Chancellor finds institutional discrimination in new London Fire Brigade report

In a leaked report, The University of Manchester’s Chancellor, Nazir Afzal OBE, has found the London Fire Brigade to be institutionally racist and misogynistic
UoM’s Chancellor finds institutional discrimination in new London Fire Brigade report
Nazir Afzal OBEPhoto: Wikimedia Commons

The University of Manchester’s Chancellor, Nazir Afzal OBE, has conducted a report into the London Fire Brigade, which found institutionalised racial discrimination and misogyny.

The report was leaked on November 25 2022. Afzal tweeted: “My review into the culture of London Fire Brigade has leaked so yes i did find LFB was institutionally misogynist & racist”. He urged people to “please ask your organisation to look in the mirror”.

The Independent Culture Review includes the experience of over 2000 people. This included members of the Grenfell community. In his letter to London Fire Commissioner, Afzal emphasised the distressing nature of the testimonies, urging them to be used as “the catalyst for change”.

The report found evidence of harassment and discrimination within the LFB, with failings for women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Of the brigade’s 4500 firefighters, only 425 are women, and around 17% of all staff “classify themselves as BAME”.

The report includes instances of firefighters going through women’s drawers looking for underwear and sex toys on house visits.

One Muslim firefighter has been mocked with “bacon and sausages put in his coat pockets”, and a “terrorist hotline sign posted on his locker”. One account of “horrendous racial abuse” describes how a black firefighter had a noose put above his locker.

Whilst it was concluded that this does not impact responses to incidents, London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe says he finds “little comfort from this, given the extremity of our own staff’s experiences”.

In his letter to Afzal, he stated: “There is no place for discrimination, harassment and bullying in the Brigade and from today it will be completely clear what behaviour isn’t acceptable and what the consequences will be”.

Afzal has called on other institutions to “please ask your organisation to look in the mirror” having been approached by members of the police, BBC, and the NHS.

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