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Northumbria Police force dismisses ex-chief's 'tired' sexism allegations

Published 09/08/2016

Sue Sim said the Northumbria force was a money-grabbing boys' club
Sue Sim said the Northumbria force was a money-grabbing boys' club

A police force has dismissed a former chief constable's allegations of sexism and money-grabbing by senior staff and described them as "old and tired accusations".

Sue Sim has spoken out about the culture at Northumbria Police, claiming she faced a "boys' club" who thought they could do what they "damn well wanted".

Promotions were made on the golf course during work time, she said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Mrs Sim, who retired last year, said: "I don't think the public have any idea of the sort of attitudes that prevail in that force.

"It was a place of rampant sexism, cover-ups and the sort of behaviour that would not be tolerated in any other workplace."

Mrs Sim was the top officer at Northumbria Police when gunman Raoul Moat shot his ex-girlfriend, killed her new lover and blasted Pc David Rathband.

She added: "It is not a situation that's compatible with 21st-century policing."

And she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "If people will be sexist towards a chief constable, then what are they going to do to victims of crime, to officers and to staff within the force? That's why I'm doing this."

But the force hit back, saying: "These are old and tired accusations and have been exhaustively looked at by three organisations at considerable taxpayers' expense."

It said her successor, Chief Constable Steve Ashman, had considered her previous sexism allegations and did not believe they should be investigated.

Independent counsel who specialise in police misconduct matters advised there was no basis to launch the investigation Mrs Sim sought, the force said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also agreed there should be no investigation.

Mrs Sim has complained about Mr Ashman's decision and this is being investigated by West Yorkshire Police.

The Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "We await the outcome of this with interest."

Mrs Sim gave evidence in support of the force's former head of legal services, Denise Aubrey, at a lengthy employment tribunal which the force won. The tribunal dismissed all allegations of sexism, the force said.

It also pointed out that four staff associations representing Northumbria Police's workforce made a rare joint statement saying they "did not recognise" the sexism allegations brought up in the tribunal.

The force said: "Given that the Chief Constable, leading independent Counsel, the IPCC and all four staff associations are clear on the matters she raises, Northumbria Police will not act any further in relation to the allegations made by Mrs Sim."

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