High-ranking officer wants “zero tolerance” in sexist police jokes | Metropolitan Police

A high-ranking black police officer has said that Metropolitan Police You should stop treating sexism as a joke as anger grows over Sarah Everard’s murder by a serving officer.

Janet Hills, who stepped down this month as president of the London Black Police Association, warned that the Met risked an irrevocable breach of trust between the force and women if the issue was not taken more seriously. .

“There has to be a zero tolerance [for sexism] and there isn’t. There’s a kind of wiggle room of ‘well, it was just a joke or jokes or whatever’. Then it is not registered and therefore the behaviors increase and get worse, ”he said.

Hills, who joined the force in 1991 and became the first female president of the Black Policeman Association in 2015, said: “Ultimately what has to happen is for the police to take into account the fact that the problem is within.”

He said that when he first filed a sexism complaint when he started on the force, senior officers did not take it seriously and instead focused on failures in his job and extended his probation.

“I have to be honest with you, it made me lose my confidence quite a bit. But again, it is almost accepted. You accept that that’s the way things are, ”he said. “In terms of my own experience, it didn’t reassure me, but I can see how it has reassured others, in terms of not saying anything and just lowering your head and getting on with the job at hand.”

Earlier this week, former Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Parm Sandhu said that some female police officers did not express concern about the behavior of their male colleagues because they feared they would not receive support by asking for help and that they would be “kicked”. on the street ”, adding that male officers tend to“ close ranks ”.

Hills said that while policewomen feared their colleagues would not respond to help, she did not believe those fears would materialize. “I don’t think a colleague stands by and allows someone who is a colleague to be attacked in that way,” he said. “If they want to get to you, it will be around your performance and that’s where we see a huge disparity.”

She added: “The fear that if you ask for help no one [help], that’s a great fear, but I can’t see that ever happening. It’s definitely a perception. “

Hills continued to criticize the extraordinary advice issued by the Met on Friday, which said the people were detained by a lone plainclothes officer. it should challenge its legitimacy and could try to “wave a bus down”.

She said, “It’s not wise. What they need to do is talk to the women, find a consensus and an idea of ​​what it feels like to be a woman who potentially has no street lighting or has to go to a park, and how it feels and what they can do next. .

“You need to understand the problem before you can offer a solution and that solution tells me that they still can’t understand the problem.”

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