Squalid Squabble in Britain's Met Police Leads to £870K Settlement for Riot Squad Chief

Published May 23rd, 2018 - 12:17 GMT
(AFP/ File Photo)
(AFP/ File Photo)

A riot squad chief inspector has won a landmark sexism case against a female boss who objected to beers being in the work fridge and male officers walking around in towels.

Chief Inspector Adrian Denby won £870,000 after being unfairly treated by Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner.

Mr Denby, 49, was removed from his role in charge of a tactical unit, after de Brunner launched a campaign to challenge the squad’s macho culture.

Ms de Brunner became angry after seeing a police officer with just a towel around his waist in the office as he left the shower room, which was her 'pet hate'.

And she launched an investigation after beer was found in a fridge with a price list on the front.

A tribunal heard that Chief Inspector Denby ran the Territorial Support Group in Paddington, more commonly known as the riot squad.

Mr Denby said he regretted not stopping male colleagues from crossing the room in towels, but also blamed the poor design of the office.

He believed he was unfairly punished for failings, while a female colleague in a similar position was treated differently.

A tribunal found that Mr Denby was discriminated against and the London force paid him compensation in an out-of-court deal.

A source told The Sun that the tribunal had cost the Met more than £2million.

And the Metropolitan Police is also understood to be helping Denby set up a business as part of the settlement.

It is understood that de Brunner has since retired and that Denby is currently on sick leave.

A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said: ‘We can confirm that we have reached a settlement in this case.

‘As there is a confidentiality clause in place, we are not in a position to discuss further.’

CI Denby joined the Met Police in January 1993 and had been a chief inspector for eight years, serving with the Iraqi police in 2004 to 2005 and then in Kabul, the Afghan capital from 2008 to 2009.

He was awarded nine commendations, worked with counter terrorism units and planned security arrangements for the Royal Family, including the Queen.

But the officer, who is seven years away from retirement, claimed he was unfairly punished for failings, while a female colleague in a similar position was not.

A hearing in 2016 was told that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner arrived at the unit in September 2014 where CI Denby, 47, was in charge, 'on a mission to drive out the macho culture'.

Shortly after arriving she encountered an unnamed male colleague in the corridor wearing only a towel around his waist on his way to the locker room.

Miss de Brunner was so incensed following the incident that Mr Denby feared he was going to be removed from his position.

He was placed under investigation for alleged malpractice by officers in his unit including fiddling overtime hours and operating an off-licence from inside the police station.

But a female of similar rank in another unit, who also came under investigation, was not subjected to similar measures.

At the time of the incident CI Denby was in charge of the Territorial Support Group (TSG) unit in Paddington, west London.

At a remedy hearing today the tribunal heard CI Denby maybe too sick to ever return to working with the Met Police.

The tribunal found CI Denby was discriminated against over his gender when he was removed from his post in October 2014 and five restrictions were placed on him.

He was also not allowed to apply for promotion to superintendent.

Suspension notices were served on an acting inspector and three sergeants after a raid by the Department of Professional Standards which found 'beer in the fridge and a price list on the front of the fridge'. 

In her judgement Tamara Lewis said Mr Denby's case was 'striking for its unfairness' and concluded that his treatment was down to his sex.

The judgement adds: 'We have found this case marked by lack of transparency.

'In the absence of any explanation, direct sex discrimination occurred and decision-makers consciously or unconsciously, viewed the claimant as a man as part of the problem in a way in which they would not have viewed him had he been a woman'.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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