First the police, now firemen are charged with bullying and racism


First the police, now firemen are charged with bullying and racism

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Could it be the uniform? They say if you put some men into uniform, they change for the worse.

The thought is prompted by a review of the London Fire Brigade, which revealed a pervasive culture of bullying and racism very similar to that reported recently in London’s Metropolitan Police force.

In each case, you can add a nastiness towards women colleagues, which often had the victims in tears.

An independent investigation of the capital city’s fire brigade, released last week, was set in motion after a trainee took his own life in 2020.

Filled with urine

These are some of the incidents reported: A noose was hung on the locker of a black firefighter; one woman brigade member found her helmet filled with urine and another received a video of a colleague exposing himself.

A Muslim firefighter was spoken to in an Indian accent and had a piece of bacon put in his sandwich. When he was transferred to another station, a pork sausage was slipped into his pocket and a terrorism sticker was placed on his locker, but his complaints were dismissed.

He eventually collapsed at work and was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The earlier police report by Baroness Casey highlighted the fact that hundreds of London police officers should have been sacked for the numerous misconduct charges, but no action was ever taken.

One serving officer had 11 charges against him involving abuse, sexual harassment, assault, fraud, distribution of an explicit image of himself and improper disclosure of information. Rather than dismissal, a decision was taken to sanction him.

The chief of the Fire Brigade, Commissioner Andy Roe, said he was “horrified” by the findings of the report. He promised “there will be change and the change starts now”.

* * *

It’s their pictures that fill you with fury when you read a new case of abuse or injury to toddlers.

The latest victim is Awaab Ishak, whose laughing photo appeared in all the papers, a cute two-year-old whose potential will never be realised.

Awaab was not a victim of personal cruelty. He died when his lungs became contaminated from mould in his family’s flat. This was a condition which the landlord, Rochdale Borough-wide Housing, knew about but had failed to remedy.

A minister expressed the government’s outrage and the chief of the housing body was sacked, but Awaab is still dead.

Painful story

Also hard to watch is a film of five-year-old Logan Mwangi , laughing and making faces, which we saw on television last week.

The film was made before he was killed last year by his mother, stepfather and the stepfather’s son, all now in prison.

This painful story was in the news again because an in-depth review concluded that Logan was let down by systemic safeguarding failures. Injuries on his body long before his death had been spotted by doctors but never reported.

Had they been referred to child protection authorities, Logan would likely be alive to this day.

* * *

In a way, you have got to admire them… nearly 51,000 driving tests a year are taken by learners who have already failed five or more times.

And 60 per cent of the 50,875 attempts made in the 12 months to April failed again.

Royal Automobile Club spokesman Steve Gooding said more learners may be booking tests they are not ready for because they fear delays due to pandemic bookings.

On the other hand, he said, “driving might not be the thing for some people.”

* * *

A man walked into a grocery store and said, “I want to buy every rotten egg you’ve got.”

The shopkeeper asked, “Why do you want to buy rotten eggs? Nobo0dy wants rotten eggs unless they’re going to see that lousy comedian at the club across the street.”

“Exactly,” the man said, “I’m the lousy comedian at the club across the street.”

* * *

Taking flowers to a cemetery, a woman noticed a Chinese man placing a bowl of rice on a grave.

She asked him, “When do you expect your late friend to come up and eat the rice?”

The Chinaman smiled, “About the same time your late friend comes up to smell the flowers.”

* * *

Desperate for a baby, a couple asked their priest to pray for them.

“Better than that,” the priest said, “ I’m going to Rome on a sabbatical and I will light a candle for you in St Peter’s.”

Nine months later, the priest heard the wife had given birth to sextuplets and he rushed home to see her, only surprised that the husband wasn’t there on such a joyful occasion.

Said the wife, “Actually, he’s gone to Rome to blow out your candle.”