Brigade launches external review after Wembley trainee's death

Undated family handout photo of London firefighter Jaden Francois-Esprit who took his own life, whos

Wembley based firefighter Jaden Francois-Esprit who took his own life - Credit: PA

The London Fire Brigade has launched an independent external review of its culture following the suicide of a Wembley based trainee.

Jaden Francois-Esprit, a trainee at Wembley Fire Station in Harrow Road, was found in his home in Wapping on August 26, 2020, three weeks after his 21st birthday.

Following an inquest in February, Coroner Mary Hassell said it was clear that Mr Francois-Esprit had felt “isolated” and expressed concern that his mental health struggles had gone “undetected by those around him”.

Ms Hassell said: "Action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe that you have the power to take such action."

The review follows an internal investigation and will deliver clear actions for the Brigade "to ensure that firefighters are better supported, from trainee level and throughout their career, and feel more able to bring their whole selves to work".

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London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “I believe that working on a fire station is one of the most rewarding jobs in the country.

"However, we need to do better at supporting our firefighters and celebrating the fact that they come from every walk of life, reflecting the vibrant city we serve.

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"Our internal investigation into Jaden’s death, and the inquest, unearthed tough questions about how we train young firefighters and introduce them to station life.

“There is a significant programme of work in this review.

"I firmly believe that it will result in a better experience for firefighters in London and a better Brigade for the Londoners we proudly serve.”

According to Brigade data ethnic minority recruits are less likely to promoted and more likely to be subject to formal and informal discipline.

Women are underrepresented at all levels of the operational workforce, and around two-thirds of its lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender colleagues do not feel comfortable disclosing their identity at work.

The brigade said it would "work with the Francois-Esprit family as the review is set up, to help define its purpose and aims, continuing to reflect on Jaden’s experience and move towards positive outcomes for his legacy".

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