The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has written to all MPs demanding that the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster be a full judicial inquiry led by a judge. The FBU is also demanding that it is a core participant, along with families of victims and survivors.
The FBU, which represents the vast majority of firefighters in the UK and which has been involved in numerous major incident investigations, is now seeking clarification from the Prime Minister on the inquiry’s scope and terms of reference.
Dave Green, FBU national officer and a former firefighter, said: “Firefighters want justice for the victims of this appalling tragedy, and all of those who were affected by it. Firefighters responded with great courage and professionalism to this unprecedented fire, seeing sights that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. They need to be heard as part of this inquiry.”
The union’s letter to MPs included references to cuts to the fire and rescue service, with a new figure obtained this week via a Freedom of Information request that 11,000 frontline firefighter jobs have been lost since 2010 – until recently the figure was 10,000. This equates to almost one fifth (20%) of the entire workforce, which the FBU know puts public safety at risk.
The FBU is also calling on the inquiry to address the decline in fire safety inspections which is impacting on public safety. Today’s letter to MPs stated ‘As a result of the massive funding cuts to fire and rescue services, there has been a significant decline in the capacity of fire authorities to undertake crucial fire prevention work. Home safety checks in England have fallen by 25% according to Home Office figures……there are fewer firefighters available to carry out this irreplaceable, life saving work’.