Senior female armed police officer who was made to strip to her underwear and told ‘just because you have t**s does not mean you can’t do a press-up’ wins sex discrimination case
- DI Rebecca Kalam wins sex discrimination case against West Midlands Police
- She was made to be the ‘poster girl’ for the firearms unit, a tribunal heard
A senior female firearms officer has won a sex discrimination and harassment case after being stripped down to her underwear during a police training course.
Detective Inspector Rebecca Kalam was told ‘just because you have t**s does not mean you cannot do a press up’, and forced to pose for a photoshoot when five months pregnant, an employment tribunal heard.
She was also made to be the ‘poster girl’ for the West Midlands Police firearms unit she worked at and told she would not pass the training course ‘if she did not agree to it’.
The whistleblower claimed last month that close protection officers for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, referred to her as ‘Tikka Masala’.
DI Kalam – who was one of only seven women in a unit with 250 men – complained about a ‘toxic and discriminatory’ culture in her unit.
Senior female firearms officer Detective Inspector Rebecca Kalam (pictured) has won a sex discrimination and harassment case after being stripped down to her underwear during a police training course
Detective Inspector Rebecca Kalam was told ‘just because you have t**s does not mean you cannot do a press up’, and forced to pose for a photoshoot when five months pregnant, an employment tribunal heard
The 40-year-old said she had been left feeling ‘extremely uncomfortable’ by her male colleagues who also drew male genitalia on notice boards around the station.
READ MORE: Officers tasked with protecting Malala Yousafzai referred to the schoolgirl shot by the Taliban as ‘tikka masala’, claims whistleblower
West Midlands Police has admitted discrimination and sexual harassment after Mrs Kalam made dozens of allegations.
In a judgement published today (FRI) the force was found liable for her claims of sex discrimination and harassment.
The tribunal, held in Birmingham, heard Mrs Kalam joined the firearms unit in 2012 and was regularly subjected to sexist and derogatory language.
In March 2012 she was required to act as a ‘stooge’ in a mock training exercise, had her clothes cut off and was ‘stripped down to her underwear’ so first aid could be given.
The tribunal heard the scenario was based on a bullet hole on the top of the left breast which officers would then have to treat – which left her feeling ‘extremely uncomfortable’.
Later that month, while doing press ups, a male trainer pushed her neck down with his foot and said ‘just because you have t**s does not mean you cannot do a press up’.
In a number of other incidents, the tribunal heard Mrs Kalam wasn’t given an easy trigger hand-gun like male officers, was required to pose for a photoshoot while five months pregnant and put up with hand drawn male genitalia images on notice boards around the station.
She complained that women were forced to use body armour and firearms kit designed for men, and was even told to wear a compression bra to fit into the armour.
In December 2020 Mrs Kalam wasn’t allowed to attend assessment days for aspiring firearm officers before delaying her transfer to her new role at the Criminal Investigation Department in January 2021.
Employment Judge Christopher Camp ruled West Midlands Police were guilty of sex discrimination by not ordering PPE including body armour specifically for her – ‘irrespective of when male body armour was being ordered’.
He said the force had harassed her related to her sex by making her the ‘poster girl’ and ensuring she acted as the ‘stooge’ in the exercise where she was stripped to her underwear.
Close protection officers for Malala Yousafzai (pictured), the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban , referred to her as ‘Tikka Masala’, DI Kalam claimed last month
The tribunal found Mrs Kamal had been victimised by not allowing to attend assessment days and by delaying her transfer to a different unit.
As part of today’s judgement, EJ Camp ordered that Mrs Kamal receive £3,000 in compensation ‘in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity for her claim for physical injury’.
It was reported in September that DI Kalam said she overheard some of the human rights activist Malala Yousafzai’s protection officers refer to her ‘on a couple of occasions as tikka masala’.
The allegation was among a string of claims of racism, misogyny and toxic behaviour in the force made by Ms Kalam, who has just won an employment case against West Midlands Police. Ms Kalam told Channel 4 News the force is at risk of ‘another David Carrick or Wayne Couzens’.
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