Beryl | The thin female blue line

The following happened to me as a serving police officer.
Female officers including myself referred to as “split” – That Split over there. I asked what they meant and was told split arse.
At an initial briefing at a murder enquiry in a room of 30 people , only 2 women present the senior officer [redaction made for legal reasons] was allocating roles. I was asked to collect a £ off everyone for a tea/ coffee fund . My face must have been a picture because he followed up with ” and I’m not picking on you because you are a woman”. A police officer [redaction made for legal reasons] came to me in private and said he would do it.
Whilst on light duties when 7 months pregnant I was asked by a male officer [redaction made for legal reasons] to retrieve a file for court. I unlocked the store room he followed me in and closed the door I was finding the file for him when I turned around he said “bend over that table and I’ll give you one” whilst he gestured and thrust his hips. I left the storeroom quickly and locked him in. I panicked about what to do. If I reported him, would I be believed, ostracized, be in danger if I wanted help? I decided to give him a lesson by locking him in , went into the radio control room and asked an operator to ask for his location. He knew he would have to reply and said ” In the building” . I still regret not reporting him. I let him out after about ten minutes. I heard some time later he had been moved from another division for sexual misconduct. He was a married man in a senior rank to me.
On another occasion I was on night duty, I was instructed to cover a patrol with an officer I did not know very well. Whilst we waited for a key holder to attend an alarm he lunged at me and tried to kiss me. I was totally shocked. I asked my supervising officer [redaction made for legal reasons] never to pair me with him again they agreed and never asked why.
Whilst in the court cells area I saw there was a calendar with scantily clad women. The people in custody could see it as well as any court ushers) solicitor. The current picture was a woman wearing police hat holding a staff (truncheon) and handcuffs. She was bare breasted and wore very little. I asked the officers who worked there regularly to remove it as it was inappropriate. They laughed at me said I was a prude.
After the birth of my child I was told by a male PC I should have stayed at home and made pies rather than return to work.
Many of my colleagues were kind and compassionate and I enjoyed working with them. I hope that the force I worked at for 9 years has improved their training and whistle blowing policies. I would be willing to help them formulate some.
Most of my former colleagues are now retired. I was invited to join a local retirement association that has a welfare and social wing. I noticed that the committee was all male and the male officer [redaction made for legal reasons] who I locked in the cupboard was one of them. I often think I should join and march up to him to let him know how it affected me. But I still fear the ridicule and disbelief I would be met with.
I now work for an organisation where I feel safe, valued and see all people treated with equity.

Constabulary: Greater Manchester Police

Timespan: Between 1987 and 1996

Did you report it to the police?: No

Your ethnicity: White British

illustration by Danny Noble

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