The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because of your race. In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality.
Dorset and Wiltshire both have predominantly White British populations however, there are certain areas across our Service where diversity is greater, for example in the conurbations such as Bournemouth and Swindon, as well as areas of Wiltshire such as Trowbridge.
The Service takes a proactive approach in ensuring that we are able to support all members of our communities, working hard to identify the risk factors relating to race and ethnicity such as cultural habits that may increase fire risk. The Service attends Local Resilience Forums to better understand the needs of our local communities enabling us to focus our work to the specific needs of the area, race and ethnicity therefore forms part of our community profiling work. Crews are encouraged to engage with their local communities to help break down any perceived barriers and improve their understanding of the community groups within their area.
To ease potential language barriers DWFRS provides targeted communications for people who don’t speak English as their first language, this is achieved through the use of language appropriate booklets, the use of translation services, including the opportunity to translate the website into over 100 different languages, as well as engaging with local services and partner organisations who specialise in community languages.
As a Service we support and sponsor events such as the Dorset Ethnic Minority Awards to demonstrate our appreciation of the great work that is happening by members of our ethnic minority groups.
At present the Diversity of our workforce when we consider Race and Ethnicity is not yet reflective of the communities we serve. We are keen to attract a more diverse workforce and ensure that our workforce reflects our communities but due to low staff turnover, it is expected that this will take some time. We do however encourage applicants from diverse groups when recruitment is open and have an active recruitment campaign #BeOneOfUs, which targets our advertising at those who perhaps may have never considered a career in the Fire Service as being an option for them.
Our education teams also work hard to break down the stereotypes that are created in children at such a young age, in the hope that we can change perceptions of the younger generations when considering their career choices for the future.