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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Damning review recommends London firefighters wear body cameras

Firefighters in the city will wear body cameras following a toxic report which found horrendous revelations regarding racism, sexism and homophobia in the London Fire Brigade.

Former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE created the report which includes testimonies from 2000 staff and found major evidence of bullying.

Commissioning the review was a recommendation of the internal investigation into the death of a firefighter on development, Jaden Matthew Francois-Esprit, who took his own life in August 2020. 

The outcome of the review was that firefighters should wear body cams during home visits.

In one reported case of horrendous racial abuse, a black firefighter had a noose put above his locker and a Muslim man said he had been constantly bullied about his religion, and had bacon and sausages put in his
coat pockets and a terrorist hotline sign posted on his locker.

Meanwhile women reported being groped in training exercises and having to run a daily gauntlet of sexist
abuse, again frequently euphemised as ‘banter’. Many were routinely referred to as “woman” or “front bottom”
by colleagues and, more seriously, some were punched and attacked.


Some endured the indignity of having photos of them taken without their consent, which were then passed on to colleagues with misogynistic comments written on them. Many were sexually taunted and one woman, after making complaints about this, received video calls from a man exposing his private parts.

“Absurdity”

One account from a gay firefighters said he felt shunned by colleagues who told him, “I’m not going into a
fire with you in case you try it on.” and said that was the kind of absurdity he had to deal with on a daily basis.

The report also said that the senior leadership team is predominantly white males. There is evidence of poor progression of people of colour and women to senior positions within the service and there are no openly gay male officers above the rank of group commander.

London Fire commissioner Andy Roe confirmed that work would “start immediately” to implement the report’s recommendations.

He added: “We have begun the procurement of body-worn cameras. We will be the first service in the country to issue body-worn cameras to our crews, both to protect them but also to ensure public safety and reassurance. Those are immediate changes, and that change has started now.”

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