The London Fire Brigade has been “slow to implement the changes needed” after Grenfell Tower fire, according to a national watchdog.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said the London service is not doing enough to keep people safe from fires

It also said the brigade needs to become more efficient, and look after its staff better.

The report comes as the London Assembly is set to vote on the appointment of new London fire chief Andy Roe.

The capital’s current fire commissioner, Dany Cotton, announced last week that she would step down early at the end of the year.

Ms Cotton was criticised during the first phase of the Grenfell enquiry for saying she would not have changed the brigade’s response to the fire.

Seventy-two people died in the devastating blaze in June 2017, after flames spread rapidly through the tower’s cladding.

But Grenfell inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said more lives could have been saved if the building had been evacuated sooner.

Ms Cotton has since said the response to Grenfell would now be “very different”.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Dany Cotton had planned to retire in April, but will now step down at the end of the year (Photo: Sky)Dany Cotton had planned to retire in April, but will now step down at the end of the year (Photo: Sky)

But the watchdog report says two and a half years on from the fire, the brigade has not learned lessons to keep people safe.

HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue services Martin Parr said his findings were “disappointing” and there were “too many areas” where improvements were needed.

He said: “We found that while the brigade has learned lessons from Grenfell, it has been slow to implement the changes needed.

“This is unfortunately typical of the brigade’s approach to organisational change.”

The report found that some fire engine drivers in London had not had refresher training for twenty years – despite national guidelines recommending top-up courses every five years.

It also said there was no comprehensive training for firefighters dealing with terrorist attacks, and frontline staff “lacked the confidence” to respond.

Mr Parr said the brigade should “urgently” address a lack of adequate training.

The inspector also said there was “a long way to go” before the fire service was cost efficient.

He added: “In some areas it is wasteful. While it has made savings, these are not of the level made in other services.”

Although response times are less than seven minutes in London, almost half of all callouts for the brigade are false alarms.

The report said not enough was being done to reduce this figure.

While the brigade has learned lessons from Grenfell, it has been slow to implement the changes needed

Firefighters in London cost almost £6 more per head of population than the average for England– but there are fewer officers per person in the capital.

Mr Parr said: “Worryingly, the Brigade is inadequate at getting the right people with the right skills.

“It also needs to improve how it promotes the right values and culture, ensuring fairness and promoting diversity as well as managing performance and developing leaders.

Incoming London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said he recognised that the service “isn’t good enough”.

He said: “As the new Commissioner I am committed to making the necessary improvements when I take on the position in January.

“We are already delivering some of the key improvements the report has highlighted and doing everything we can to provide the best possible service to the people of London and keep them safe.”

The London Brigade was not the only fire service in need of improvement.

Buckinghamshire, Devon and Somerset, East Sussex, Gloucestershire, North Yorkshire, and Essex fire brigades were also criticised by the inspector today.