ESSEX fire and rescue service has admitted concerns that it was unable to recruit a single black, Asian or minority ethnic person in its first round to recruit full time fighters in nine years.
The service has added the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is particularly concerned at the failure of Essex to attract people from BAME communities – the service has taken on 49 full time fighters since launching last year the first recruitment drive in nine years.
However all are white and only five were women.
Jo Turton, who explained to an Essex County Council fire panel that the service was planning three more rounds of recruitment in the next 12 months, said the service was committed to improving the take up of women by helping with their fitness.
But the failure to recruitment anyone from BAME communities has led the service to look to spread its recruitment net into London and Kent.
She said: “We did not mange to recruit a single member from the BAME community which is a real concern for me, for the commissioner and for the service.
“It’s an area that is quite rightly raised with us by firefighters and representative bodies.
“It is an area of real focus for us.
“We are looking at the recruitment for the three rounds that will follow and looking how we can positively target women and BAME communities much more than we have done.
“We are looking at widening the areas where we start to recruit.
“We touched briefly last time on some of the outer London boroughs. In agreement with the commissioner in London we will be going deeper into London and equally with agreement of the chief fire officer in Kent we are moving into areas in Kent where we know there are existing BAME communities.
“The FBU are particularly concerned and rightly so. They have areas of expertise they are willing to share with us in terms of their learning from what other services have done.”