Police chief 'very grateful' after avoiding sack over drunken 'boob job' tirade
A female police chief who launched a drunken tirade at a junior colleague about the size of her breasts has apologised and spoken of her gratitude after her boss decided not to fire her over the incident.
Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said she looked forward "to getting back to serving the community I love" after she was told she would receive a final written warning from the force.
Last May, at a national conference for senior women in policing, Ms Sutcliffe told Superintendent Sarah Jackson that her "credibility was zero" after she had a "boob job" and berated her as a "laughing stock" who would be judged professionally "on the size of her tits".
She went on to pull down the front of her dress to expose her left breast, saying: "Look at these, look at these, these are the breasts of someone who has had three children.
"They are ugly but I don't feel the need to pump myself full of silicone to get self-esteem."
Last month a disciplinary panel ruled her actions amounted to gross misconduct and it had taken her to the "the very precipice of dismissal" but accepted it was out of character and recommended a final written warning would suffice.
Ms Jackson, who has since transferred to Cumbria Constabulary, said she was "shocked, mortified, embarrassed and ashamed" at the comments made by her superior.
Unlike those below the rank of Assistant Chief Constable, the final decision on sanction rested with GMP rather than the independent panel, which in this case included Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
On Monday, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling explained that a "high bar" would have to be reached for him to disagree with the panel's recommendation.
He said: "I accept that she has apologised for this behaviour, but even so, for a senior officer to behave in such a way has unfortunately damaged the reputation of GMP, of senior officers, of policing overall and significantly of ACC Sutcliffe herself, whose reputation is now in tatters.
"Despite being absolutely appalled at the behaviour and all too aware of the damage to public confidence, I do not think I can reasonably take a different view without very significant reason to do so."
Following his decision, Ms Sutcliffe - who was suspended after the incident - said in a statement: "The responsibility for what happened is mine and mine alone. At the time of the incident, I was under significant personal and professional pressure.
"In this context I foolishly became drunk and as a result behaved in a way that is entirely at odds with the way I conduct myself on a daily basis and with the person and senior leader that I want to be.
"I did not mean any of the things that I said and I am dismayed that I was so unkind and unfair.
"I am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to return to work. On my return, I will bring the very best of my abilities to serve policing and the public as well as I am able.
"What I did was wrong and I apologise for it. I now look forward to getting back to serving the community I love."
Earlier Mr Pilling suggested it would be "more logical, and more importantly, would provide greater public confidence" if the panel would have been able to decide the sanction.
His view was supported by his boss, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, who stated GMP had been put in "a difficult situation" and said he would write to the Home Office to call for the process to be standardised for all officers.
Mr Hopkins said the events of last May had "cast a shadow" over "an important event to recognise the contribution of women in policing" but it was important to now move forward.
He said: "ACC Sutcliffe has been given a chance to demonstrate that she is committed to serving the people of Greater Manchester.
"We will now work with her to consider how she best achieves this in support of Greater Manchester Police."