• Sunday, April 21, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sharp fall in women and minority recruits to London Fire Brigade

In 2023, just 11 per cent of new recruits were female and only 13 per cent from minorities

Hina Bokhari

By: Pramod Thomas

THERE was a sharp drop in the recruitment of women and ethnic minorities by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) last year, new data released on Thursday (14) revealed, despite calls for greater diversity within the service.

In 2023, just 11 per cent of new recruits were female and only 13 per cent from black, Asian and under-represented communities, showed the data revealed by the Liberal Democrats.

This marks a notable decline compared to 2021, when 31 per cent of recruits were women and 35 percent were from black, Asian, and underrepresented communities.

Regarding female recruits specifically, the percentage is now lower than it was five years ago.

Last year, only 39 people were recruited from minority groups compared to 212 white recruits. In 2022, 56 people from minority communities found a job in the service.

In 2020, minority representation was the highest in new recruitment as 31.2 per cent of new employees were from a minority background.

The Liberal Democrats have said that this decline indicates insufficient efforts to ensure that the London Fire Brigade reflects the diverse city it serves.

They warned that the progress made towards creating a more inclusive workplace could be undone if this downward trend continues unchecked.

Liberal Democrats have urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to prevent budget limitations from derailing efforts to reform the LFB. They demanded more funds and support towards apprenticeships and recruitment initiatives.

“This data is extremely disappointing and shows that the London Fire Brigade has actually gone backwards in the last year when it comes to increasing diversity in the service. London is one of the world’s most diverse cities and public services need to better represent the communities they serve,” said Hina Bokhari, Liberal Democrat London assembly member and fire spokesperson.

“The scandal faced in recent years by the LFB over racism, misogyny and homophobia only goes to show the scale of the challenge in modernising the service.

“The mayor of London must ensure that making our public services more representative is a key focus, both in order to provide better, more inclusive levels of service and to ensure woman and ethnic minority Londoners have access to exciting and fulfilling public service career opportunities.”

In 2022, an independent cultural review led by Nazir Afzal revealed that the LFB was institutionally misogynist and racist.

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