In Brief

Why is London fire brigade ‘one of the worst’?

Inspectors find that service is wasting resources and slow to learn

The London fire brigade is one of the worst in the country, according to a new report from inspectors.

Two and a half years after the Grenfell Tower disaster, a “scathing” report found that incident commanders are inadequately trained, and the service is wasting resources and failing to learn from its mistakes, says The Guardian.

The report found that firefighters at the country's largest service are attending a disproportionately high number of false alarms, while some fire engine drivers have not received refresher training for 20 years.

Matt Parr, HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services, said of the LFB: “Many of its projects are wasteful, projects get started and stalled. The organisation as a whole is slow to learn.”

While stressing that he and his fellow inspectors were “absolutely not criticising every firefighter in London,” he said the investigation “doesn't leave you with the impression that the organisation is well-run and where value for money is top of their agenda”.

Parr said that LFB commissioner Dany Cotton, who will stand down at the end of December, had seen the report before she announced the decision to bring her resignation forward from April 2020.

Andy Roe, who will replace Cotton as London Fire Commissioner from January, said: “I recognise that what's been highlighted in the report isn't good enough and as the new commissioner I am committed to making the necessary improvements when I take on the position in January.”

The investigation, by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, analysed performance across one third of the country's 45 fire services.

It found that the Essex and Gloucestershire services were underperforming in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency, as well as how they treat people.

However, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire were named as six of the 15 fire services deemed “good” in all three areas.

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