Met to pay sergeant £200,000 for sex bias

Author: By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent

A female police sergeant who claimed she was victimised because she was seen as “dominant” has reached a £200,000 settlement with the Metropolitan Police.

Sergeant Belinda Sinclair, 40, a training officer stationed at Streatham, in south London, had also alleged that her senior officer had told her she was “very confident for a woman”.

Yesterday, the Met agreed to pay Sgt Sinclair £10,000 in settlement of the claim. They also agreed to pay her an ill health medical pension for 17 years’ service, estimated to be worth £180,000. The final payout could be much more as Sgt Sinclair has reserved her right to bring a personal injury claim against the force. If that succeeds she can expect to be awarded a further six figure sum.

The Met denied liability and the allegations made against her superior, Chief Superintendent Derek Cook, and said it took the decision for financial reasons. The Employment Tribunal at Croydon heard that the sex discrimination case had been “compromised” and that it had been withdrawn after terms were reached.

The chairman, John Warren, said: “She obviously had a good career. It seems a shame that somebody’s promising career in the police force was damaged by an alleged remark.”

He was referring to Sgt Sinclair’s claim that when she took her complaint to a senior officer she was told she was “very confident for a woman”.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement after the tribunal that Sgt Sinclair had been recommended for a medical discharge. They said the Chief Medical Officer had found her unable to carry out the full duties of a police officer now and for the foreseeable future. The Met said the ill health pension would be dealt with separately from the tribunal and regularly reviewed. A spokeswoman said: “Although the Metropolitan Police were prepared to fight this case – including denying the allegations made against Ch Supt Cook – the [force] has a responsibility for the public purse.”

Sgt Sinclair, who was honoured last year by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens for “improving the use of evidence”, went on sick leave in February last year claiming she had been “harassed and victimised” after making a formal complaint about an assessment of her performance which described her as dominant.

After the case Sgt Sinclairsaid: “I am relieved that this case is over but I am disappointed it has resulted in the end of my career and the Metropolitan Police has lost one of its most efficient and effective officers. I am retiring as of today, on health grounds, 20 years too early.”

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