Woman detective wins big payout in sex case

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The Independent Online
A FEMALE detective has received one of the largest compensation awards for sexual harassment after being subjected to what an industrial tribunal called "workplace bullying of the worst kind".

Hampshire Police paid a six-figure sum to Lesley Evans, 37, who was the only woman officer working with 22 men in the CID department in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

The tribunal in Southampton was told of a lengthy catalogue of harassment, including one incident in which a colleague leant against her and simulated sex "like a rutting pig". On another occasion, the same officer dropped his trousers in front of Mrs Evans, who was then a detective constable. When she complained to her superior, Detective Sergeant Geoff Crowe, he laughed it off.

Hampshire Police declined to reveal the exact figure of the settlement, which was reached days before she was due to return to the tribunal.

Last May, a woman detective, Dee Mazurkiewicz, received compensation estimated at pounds 150,000 from North Yorkshire Police after suffering a four- year campaign of sexual harassment. It was believed to be the largest settlement of its kind.

Mrs Evans said after the announcement of her pay-out that it had been her dream to join CID. But colleagues told her she had only got the job because of positive discrimination, and restricted her to cases involving sexual offences or women and children.

"You expect a certain amount of banter. But it got worse and worse, and I was appalled and disgusted by what was happening," she said.

Det Sgt Crowe and another officer, Detective Constable Mark Linnington, were transferred from the Ryde office after she complained.

The tribunal said in its judgment that Mrs Evans had been forced to endure "a working environment and a series of incidents ... calculated to intimidate and humiliate her". She had faced "sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace of the worst kind, shameful in extent and duration".

After the tribunal found in her favour, the Chief Constable of Hampshire, John Hoddinott, issued an "unequivocal apology". He said senior officers were confident that the way Mrs Evans was treated was exceptional, "and not indicative of behaviour and attitudes in the force as a whole or the CID".

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