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The Independent Online
Allegations by Alison Halford, a former assistant chief constable, that her telephone at work was bugged while she fought a case of sexual discrimination against her employers, were backed yesterday by the European Commission of Human Rights.

The commission concluded that Ms Halford's rights to privacy were violated. The case has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights, which if it accepts the findings, will order the British government to pay damages. The Government has fought the application for compensation, first lodged in April 1992. It followed Ms Halford's claims of sexual discrimination against the Chief Constable of Merseyside, HM Inspector of Constabulary, the Home Secretary and the Northamptonshire police authority. Ms Halford claimed that she was barred from promotion because she was a woman. The complaints were withdrawn following an out-of-court settlement in which she took early retirement. Ms Halford complained to the European Commission that her rights had been violated by the police and the Home Office. The European Court, which usually accepts the commission's findings, is expected to rule on the case next year.

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