Firefighters in England are marred by the ‘toxic culture’

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Firefighters in England suffer from a “toxic” culture, and some firefighters do not treat their colleagues with “enough humanity,” a surveillance chief said.

The inspectors discovered cases of harassment and harassment in some services, while it was said that some staff members considered the abuse of others to be “fun.”

It is the first annual report of the Inspection of Police and Fire and Rescue Services of His Majesty.

His chief inspector, Sir Thomas Winsor, asked for a new code of ethics.

He also urged building owners to remove coatings similar to those used in the Grenfell Tower, to help prevent another fire.

‘Left in tears’

Sir Thomas highlighted in his report a staff survey that found that 24% reported feeling intimidated or harassed at work in the last 12 months, and the number increased to 46% in a service.

He said inspectors had heard accusations of illegal discrimination and that some services lacked defined values ​​for people to follow and use to challenge unacceptable behaviors.

“The fire department refers to itself as humanitarian, but firefighters in some services do not treat their colleagues with sufficient humanity,” he wrote in his report.

While the inspection said in an informative session with journalists that the problems were within “isolated pockets” of the services, he said he had spoken to women firefighters who were “in tears” when discussing the intimidating behavior of their colleagues and a ” lack of inclusion “.

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Also in his report, Sir Thomas said it was “alarming” that, more than two years after the Grenfell fire in which 72 people died, more than 300 buildings still had the same siding as the tower.

“Building owners must do the repair work to remove similar siding systems, including rain screens with polyethylene cores, as quickly as possible,” said Sir Thomas.

“No other fire service should face such a serious fire due to these unsafe materials.”

The report of phase one of Grenfell’s investigation, published in October, found that the lining of the Grenfell Tower did not meet construction standards and was the “main” reason for the rapid spread of the fire.

‘Interfere in operational matters’

Elsewhere, Sir Thomas accused the Fire Brigades Union of putting the public at risk.

He gave the example of staff in Greater Manchester who refuse to serve in a team formed to respond to terrorist attacks with firearms due to a wage dispute.

Sir Thomas said the FBU had used its “considerable industrial muscle” to demand more money from firefighters who were to provide medical assistance along with ambulance teams.

“The union should not interfere in operational matters,” he said. “They are there to protect the interests of their members, to ensure they are properly paid, their working terms and conditions.”

Last June, a watchdog warned that lives could be at risk due to the dispute.

In a statement, the FBU said: “We completely reject any suggestion that we have put the public at risk. Matters related to the operational fire service are intrinsically related to the health and safety of firefighters, and therefore are the core of our work as a union. “

He added: “Firefighters know better about their service and should have a strong voice in how it runs.”

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