Brussels Secretary of State Pascal Smet will carry out an external audit of Brussels’ Fire and Emergency Medical Aid Service (Siamu), regarding diversity, he announced Friday in La Dernière Heure and De Morgen.
Several incidents of a racist nature have reportedly taken place there in recent months and investigations are underway.
“The historical culture of Siamu or the police is not always open to diversity,” Smet said. “The composition of the fire brigade does not reflect the diversity of Brussels either.”
“There are very few women (11 out of 1,109 in the operational framework), there are few Brussels inhabitants and there are very few firemen with an immigrant background. This has to change,” he said.
Smet is launching the audit, “so that we can understand the culture and structure of the Brussels fire brigade.” That will make it possible to establish a new plan and take action against discrimination and racism.
The external audit has already been discussed with the fire chiefs. “Is there a problem at the individual or the structural level,” Smet wondered. “And does the culture allow such behaviour to be reported, or should an anonymity procedure be put in place? We need to ask these questions now.”
“In any case, it is clear that the existing disciplinary procedures are too slow,” he added.
The Brussels Times