Halford decided not to be a 'harridan'

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S most senior policewoman, Assistant Chief Constable Alison Halford, yesterday told how she made a conscious decision as she went up the ranks not to become one of the 'harridans and bitchy women'.

But she admitted to the industrial tribunal in Manchester, where she is claiming sex discrimination, that she had 'despised' her chief, the then Chief Constable of Merseyside, Sir Kenneth Oxford.

Miss Halford, 52, was being cross-examined on the 30th day of the hearing in which she alleges sex discrimination by the present Chief Constable, James Sharples, the regional inspector of constabulary, Sir Philip Myers, the Home Secretary and Northamptonshire police authority.

She told John Hand QC, representing Mr Sharples: 'I didn't want the role of the bossy, interfering woman. I worked hard to safeguard against that.' She also strongly denied a suggestion by Mr Hand that she said a man at a Special Branch party had a 'lovely arse'. 'I never use the word. I prefer the term backside.'

Questioned by Mr Hand about Sir Kenneth, she said: 'I despised him in some respects because of his appalling treatment of me and the way he caused stress in the force.'

She described an occasion when Sir Kenneth gave another Assistant Chief Constable, Ernest Miller, a ticking-off in front of her 'and almost reduced Miller to tears'.

'This was the wickedness of Kenneth Oxford - he just didn't think of the situation and the effect it would have on us,' she said.

Miss Halford also claimed Mr Sharples had said of her to a colleague: 'That woman must go. I will trample her into the ground.'

The tribunal continues today.

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