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Police Officer wins victimisation claim over sexist culture

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Mrs R Malone v The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland a tribunal has ruled that a firearms officer was the victim of a sexist culture. The Tribunal accepted in evidence the examples of the ‘absolute boys club’ or ‘horrific’ culture given by Mrs Malone’s witnesses. There was also a WhatsApp Group which was used to send both work and leisure related messages including images of topless women. An Inspector was overheard calling one of the female Police Investigators ‘a wee lassie’. Two other female officers transferred out of the division because they were not confident that the sexist culture within the ARV division was going to change and felt that their sex was always going to be a barrier to promotion.

The Tribunal also accepted the evidence of Mrs Malone and two other female officers that an email was sent which contained an order or direction from a senior police officer to the effect that women could no longer be deployed together when there were sufficient male staff on duty.

Mrs Malone’s solicitor, Margaret Gibbon, described the employment tribunal’s judgement as “damning”.

“The employment tribunal’s findings lay bare the misogynistic attitudes and culture within armed policing and the hostile treatment police officers face when they try to call it out,” she added. “Of equal concern is the employment tribunal’s findings that it did not consider credible much of the evidence it heard from Police Scotland’s witnesses, including testimony from high-ranking police officers and senior members of staff.

“The serious issues this judgement brings to light need to be urgently addressed by Police Scotland”.

Police Scotland apologised unreservedly to Ms Malone and said it would address the issues raised in the judgement “as a matter of urgency”.

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