People who work in the NHS, the BBC and police forces have raised “serious concerns” about the way they are treated, a lawyer has said.
An independent culture review of London Fire Brigade (LFB), led by Nazir Afzal – a former chief crown prosecutor for the North West – found “dangerous levels of ingrained prejudice against women”, while colleagues from minority backgrounds were “frequently the target of racist abuse”.
Mr Afzal called for a “national inquiry” into other public bodies, saying he had been approached in the past 24 hours by several people who work for them.
He later told of being approached by people with the Army and the Navy, who told of similar experiences.
Speaking at a briefing at the LFB headquarters in central London on Saturday, he said: “There are members of five different police forces who have approached me and said similar concerns about their own forces, I won’t name them.
“I’ve had approaches, it may shock, from the BBC and I’ve had approaches from the National Health Service.
“They are pivotal to the British society, these organisations, and yet there are people within them that are seriously concerned about the way they’re being treated within their organisations.
“I don’t know what to do, the BBC won’t ask me, the NHS won’t ask me, somebody needs to ask the people who work in these organisations and policing.
“I can assure you there are 43 police forces with problems and with serious concerns, and yet you currently know only about two.
“There needs to be a national inquiry, particularly in relation to misogyny because this is a subject that hasn’t had the attention that it deserves.”
Mr Afzal said this should focus on misogyny and racism across all sectors.
He told the PA news agency: “We’re not talking about a tiny outbreak here, a tiny outbreak there.
“This is a national pandemic issue, which requires a national pandemic-type response.”
It comes after the LFB review revealed a black firefighter was subject to racist bullying which culminated in someone putting a mock noose above his locker.
The review also referred to a Muslim firefighter, bullied because of his faith, who had bacon put in his sandwich by his colleagues.
Over a period of 10 months, a seven-strong team led by Mr Afzal gathered evidence of what people experienced in their working environment and the wider culture that supported this.
It has accounts ranging from women being groped to people having their helmets filled with urine.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is a modern and inclusive organisation that seeks to create a culture where everyone can thrive professionally and produce their best work.
“We have a zero tolerance approach and would encourage anyone who has witnessed or been subject to inappropriate behaviour, to report it.”