Ex-Met officer wins discrimination pay-out

Friday 6th May 2022 11:32 am
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A FORMER senior Metropolitan Police detective who was the victim of misogyny has received a large pay out, it has been revealed.

Retired Detective Superintendent Paige Kimberley raised her concerns with former Met Commissioner Cressida Dick and Home Secretary Priti Patel about a ‘vulgar and sexist’ WhatsApp group – but never received a response.

Paige, who lives in Dawlish, was victimised after she revealed sexual images were shared on WhatsApp social media by serving and retired male officers in the Met.

The WhatsApp group posted messages calling women ‘slags’, showing vile images and posting sexist attitudes towards women.

The decorated officer had an offer of a new job withdrawn hours after alerting her manager to offensive messages she had seen. 

She won a victimisation tribunal against the Met – which has since seen the Commissioner Cressida Dick quit following the Charing Cross text scandal incidents where police officers joked about rape, killing black children and beating their wives. 

Ms Kimberley, now 59, was commended seven times during her 32 year long career in the Met.

A London employment tribunal heard she retired in 2013 but four years later was approached to rejoin the Met as part of its Digital Policing strategy.

She was offered a role as an Implementation Manager in a team which consisted of retired male police officers, a serving constable and a civilian IT specialist.

She told the tribunal that a WhatsApp group called ‘Old Timers plus Dave’ was created for the group to keep in touch with each other and help with any problems that arose.

After she left the role Ms Kimberley remained on the group – and said the ‘language and images shared within the group began to become graphic, sexual and derogatory towards women’.

She said they posted up to 20 messages a day which included statements, images and videos which were ‘negative towards or about women’.

She was asked to return to the role in 2019 but felt she could not until the content of the WhatsApp group had been addressed and claimed the conduct by the team had created a ‘hostile and offensive environment to me’.

The tribunal panel ruled the messages were ‘completely inappropriate for any workplace’ but an internal investigation in 2019 took no action against the officers - but accepted the messages were ‘distasteful’ but were not criminal and did not amount to misconduct.

Her lawyer, Exeter based employment specialist Terry Falcao, said the details of the settlement cannot be disclosed but hopes they will be seen by the Home Office and the Independent Office for Police Conduct 

He said: ‘In this case, very basic dignity at work tenets were breached. The Met’s own social media and diversity policies were disclosed as not fit for purpose and were ignored at senior levels.

‘Most concerning was the abject failure to investigate the allegations raised by Ms Kimberley and the manner in which public funds are accounted for.

‘The Assistant Commissioner who assigned Ms Kimberley’s allegations to a PC to investigate, without rigorous or indeed any oversight, failed Ms Kimberley and indeed other women by demonstrating the low level of importance she attached to equality issues, and in this case misogyny.

‘A cynical view may be that this will never be spoken of again, no lessons will be learned and those who by implication of the tribunal verdict were guilty of serious failings will either be promoted or rewarded in some other way.

‘I hope that Ms Dick’s departure will not be used as a political football, but used as an impetus for genuine change.’

Ms Kimberley said after the settlement, that she never did get a reply from Cressida Dick.

She said: ‘It has cost an awful lot of money to defend this case and they tried to discredit me.

‘Things got worse. There was racial profiling with a greater expanse of offensive material. But no investigation has ever been done to look at the phones of the people in this group which is really disturbing.

‘This was serious misogyny, not a bit of banter.

She said: ‘They completely ignored my complaints. It is not social media, it is the content and people saying the wrong things.’

She believes if some officers continue unchallenged then they will have the ‘green light to carry on’ but hopes that strong leadership at every level and rank ‘coming from the top’ will create change.

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