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‘I ended up feeling like a pariah’, says retired police inspector who challenged officer’s ‘toxic’ behaviour
2 November 2022, 12:24
'Having come out and challenged inappropriate behaviour, I was left high and dry'
This retired police inspector revealed to James O’Brien that after reporting “inappropriate comments” she was “left high and dry”.
James O’Brien prompted a discussion into the culture of corruption within the police force after a watchdog report revealed that thousands of corrupt officers could be working in England and Wales.
Anne, a police inspector who retired five years ago, called in to share her “personal experience” of witnessing “misogyny” and “sexism”.
Anne disclosed: “A few years ago, as an inspector, I called out some very inappropriate comments by a senior officer.”
“He was trying to glorify sexual assaults on female probationists", she explained.
“I was just so disappointed with the investigation”, she revealed, describing how officers “clammed up” and claimed they “had no recollection” of the behaviour following Anne’s accusations.
“I was trying to do the right thing in calling out this behaviour because I just found it absolutely toxic and I ended up feeling like a pariah.”
“You’ve got this unwritten code amongst thieves that you don’t grass and I felt the same in the police service.”
“Having come out and challenged inappropriate behaviour, I was left high and dry” said Anne, who had to go to counselling because of the lack of support she received.
James responded that he could hear in Anne’s voice that she was still “shaken to her core” by the events.
Anne explained how she was made to feel like a “trouble-maker” after reporting the behaviour to HR.
“From the outside it makes no sense that they would not be ushering you into the inner sanctum and saying we need to get to the bottom of this immediately”, James replied.
Anne said: “Until the pariah becomes the person who does it rather than the person who whistleblows, I cant see you can ever progress.”
Concluding the conversation, James outlined: “Cultures inculcate, they move up, they percolate upwards - you start off with a comment that goes unremarked, unpunished and then it becomes a behaviour and then it becomes an action rather than a word.”