MUSLIM WOMAN HOUNDED OUT OF MET – WINS £1M
A Muslim woman who said she was hounded out of the Metropolitan Police was awarded a record £1 million payout yesterday.
Sarah Locker sued the force for failing to honour promises to reinstate her after she was won compensation seven years ago for racial and sexual harassment. Mrs Locker, who is Turkish, said yesterday that her former boss, John Grieve, now head of Scotland Yard’s racial crime task force, had ruined her life.
Mr Grieve was to be questioned in the High Court this week over allegations that he had failed in his duty to help Mrs Locker to return to work after her tribunal in 1993. The force had promised Mrs Locker, as part of the settlement that Mr Grieve would help her to return to work.
Scotland Yard agreed to pay the money to Mrs Locker yesterday, 24 hours before her test case for negligence and breach of contract was to start in the High Court. It is to be made up of a £215,000 cash sum, a police injury award and an enhanced pension. However, they have refused to apologise for her suffering.
Mrs Locker, through tears of relief, said: “John Grieve has ruined my life. He gave me promises that he failed to carry out. My childhood ambition was to be a police officer and they have ruined it and torn my life apart.”
“I want to say shame on you, John Grieve and the Metropolitan Police. I have lost the job I loved and no money you pay me today can make up for those losses. My family have suffered and I have had a nervous breakdown and am still on medication”.
Mr Grieve was one of Mrs Locker’s bosses during her ten-year ordeal and she said that despite several complaints nothing was done to improve her situation. She worked under him in drugs squad in 1988, were she said that she was often asked by other officers about her sex life and what underwear she was wearing.
She said she was also given an official police form that had been altered to say that the police did not want foreigners in the force. She had been recommended for a job with CID after receiving several commendations for her work, but after she became pregnant that recommendation was withdrawn.
In 1991, backed by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, she took the force to an industrial tribunal. The force originally offered her £250 but finally settled outside the tribunal for £32,000. She also received a public apology from Mr Grieve, who was put in charge of overseeing her return to work.
She returned to work in 1994 but left six weeks later before being medically discharged by the force. Supported by her husband Gary, a serving police officer, she added: “My return to work was met by an unwillingness to work with me, there was a failure by senior managers to assist and recognise those problems. It was a kind of mental torture. I was shunned by all my colleagues.”
Her solicitor, Jane Deighton said: “She has not had an apology, despite it being so clear that such vast amount of compensation amounts to an admission of responsibility.”
“When will the police ever learn? It took six years and a public inquiry before the police apologised to Stephen Lawrence’s family.”
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “The Metropolitan Police has settled this case without admission of liability. We consider we had a good case but felt it was not in the interests of Sarah Locker or the MPS to have a lengthy or expensive trial. The claim refers to issues which occurred six years ago and the organisation has moved forward since that time.”