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FIRE BRIGADES 'GUILTY OF INSTITUTIONAL RACISM'

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The chief inspector of fire services has said that fire brigades are guilty of institutionalised racism in the same...
The chief inspector of fire services has said that fire brigades are guilty of institutionalised racism in the same way as the police.

The Times (p6) reports that, according to Graham Meldrum, racist behaviour by firefighters towards each other and towards the public must be tackled in a new way.

In the issue of the firefighters' magazine Fire, to be published this week, Mr Meldrum says of the findings of the Macpherson inquiry: 'It would be difficult to argue that this does not apply to the fire service. To do so would mean that we had achieved our goals in respect of equality.'

He said that only 1.5% of firefighters were from ethnic minorities and that the fire service might have created a tradition of being 'a white, male-only organisation' and then defended that tradition.

The Fire Brigades' Union said it was relieved that the inspectorate was aware of the problem. Andy Gilchrist, the union's national officer, said it was collecting evidence of racism by firefighters towards the public. He said the problems were more usually internal ones.

The article has come in the final stages of a home office review on equal opportunities in fire brigades.

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