An ex-firearms officer says she has been through “absolute hell” after an employment tribunal found evidence of a sexist “boys’ club” culture in a Police Scotland armed response unit, according to BBC.
Rhona Malone’s case was brought after a senior officer said two female armed officers should not be deployed together.
Her victimisation claims succeeded but a sex discrimination claim was dismissed.
Police Scotland has apologised.
Ms Malone told BBC Scotland “I’ve finally got justice, the acknowledgement I’ve been looking for.”
She continued: “I didn’t want to leave my job, there was no reason for this, it was completely unnecessary.
“I didn’t need to go to court for any of this, but they made it so difficult. They put me and my family through absolute hell and torture, for years I was in limbo.
“As a police officer I stood up for people’s rights, I expected the same in return.”
Before the tribunal action commenced Ms Malone says Police Scotland offered her a pay-out on the condition she signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – a legal document to stop her speaking about what happened and from assisting any colleagues in a similar situation.
Ms Malone refused as she says this “went against everything I believed in”.
She added: “Because they [Police Scotland] have hidden behind NDAs, not dealing with the problem or dealing with the culture, this happened to me and it took my career away from me.
“It took my mental health away from me, I loved my job.”
In its judgement, the employment tribunal accepted evidence that there was an “absolute boys’ club culture” within the armed response unit in Edinburgh where Ms Malone worked.
It also found Sgt Rachel Coates, a former colleague of Ms Malone, was told by a senior firearms instructor that women should not become authorised firearms officer “because they menstruated and that affected their temperament”.
When Sgt Coates asked if female authorised firearms officer could wear trousers and a top, rather than a one-piece, so it would be easier to go to the toilet, the firearms instructor swore at her.