I’ve worked in Police environments or directly with Police colleagues for 5 years and the experience has generally been awful. I’ve experienced a range of behaviours from physically inappropriate such as standing too close to me to gaslighting and sexually inappropriate comments. I’ve had both Police officers and staff constantly staring at me which made me feel uncomfortable that I’ve had to move desks or change the time I use the Police gym.
I’ve also heard a lot of comments which sadly, a lot of colleagues accept as ‘banter’ or humour. I’ve unfortunately had female colleagues collude with the behaviour by giggling or making sexually explicit comments which they know male officers or staff enjoy hearing. If you don’t find it funny, join in or respond how they want you to, you just get told you don’t understand Police humour or you’ll be targeted further. They know how to gaslight too, seeing a reaction (especially an emotional or aggressive one) is what they want and it’s funny to them. Yet, I stand up for myself and called a “b****” in the office once when no one was around to witness it. A few times, when there’s been a clearout, I’ve even seen Adult themed material which belongs to someone but people just shrug it off. Once I saw someone left the newspaper open on someone’s desk of a celebrity in a raunchy underwear photoshoot. Or I get told “He’s harmless, he doesn’t mean anything.” which isn’t true, people are not seeing the impact and how disturbing it is.
They walk around like they’re untouchable especially if they’re male and have been in the force for a long time. I’ve had older ex-Police who returned as civilians who seem to have the attitude of “You’re a young woman, what do you know? I know better than you.” Some ignore me as if I’m not there while others will dominate, speak to me like I’m nothing and expect me to do everything such as the tea round or cleaning up their desks after them while never doing it for me.
Constabulary: Metropolitan Police Service
Timespan: Last 5 years
Did you report it to the police?: No
Your ethnicity: Asian and Minority Ethnic
Have you experienced suicidality due to this?: Thoughts/feelings
Are you disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010?: No
illustration by Danny Noble