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Female firearms officer, 40, who was stripped down to her underwear in training course says ‘sexual predators are operating in plain sight’ within the police | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


  • Rebecca Kalam won a sex discrimination case against West Midlands Police



A former female firearms officer who was stripped down to her underwear in a training course has said ‘sexual predators are operating in plain sight’ within the police.

Rebecca Kalam, 40, served in West Midlands Police’s firearms unit until she quit in 2023 after successfully winning a £820,000 sex discrimination case against the force.

In the case she claimed there were multiple examples of such behaviour, including when officers stripped her down to her underwear during a police training course and another where a male officer exposed his genitals to her while on a treadmill.

She also alleged a male officer pushed her down with his foot on the back of her neck while she was doing press-ups, before telling her ‘just because you have t*** does not mean you cannot do a press-up’. 

At the time, an employment judge ruled that the former Detective Inspector, who had served 15 years in the force, should also be compensated for lost earnings and pension on the basis she would have retired as a Superintendent at 60.

Detective Inspector Rebecca Kalam, 40, has said ‘sexual predators are operating in plain sight’ within the police
Ms Kalam – who has been medically retired – successfully sued West Midlands Police at an employment tribunal and has received more than £800,000 in compensation

But Ms Kalam has now spoken out again to say sexist, misogynist, racist and abusive practices are not being addressed – while fearing the public could be in danger.

She is worried that lessons had not been learned from her experience in the firearms unit.

Ms Kalam told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘They are operating in plain sight. You hear it every single day and in every force at the moment they seem to come out with another incident of a sexual offence, another incident of something else.

‘And there is no sanctions and this is the issue, the police are policing themselves.’  

Couzens’ horrific history of sexual offending revealed in report 

Couzens had a long history of alleged sexual offending before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard in March 2021. This includes – 

  • Eight reports of indecent exposure that were handed to police;  
  • A ‘very serious sexual assault’ on a young girl while he was in his 20s;
  • Attempting to kidnap a woman at knifepoint in North London in 1995;
  • Raping a woman during a singles night in East London between late 2006 and early 2007; 
  • Raping another woman under a bridge in London in October 2019; 
  • Inappropriately touching a man in a Kent bar in the summer of 2019.  

Her intervention comes after a damning inquiry into Sarah Everard’s killer, former Met officer Wayne Couzens, found police ‘repeatedly failed’ to spot the warning signs and he should never have been allowed to join the police.

Serving firearms officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped the 33-year-old marketing executive in March 2021 before driving her from London to woods near his home in Deal, Kent, where he raped and murdered her before dumping her body. 

The shocking report also revealed he was accused of raping two women but went undetected by at least three bungling police forces who failed to spot the repeated ‘red flags’.

Inquiry chair Lady Elish Angiolini found the killer ‘could and should’ have been stopped from getting a job as an officer, and that without a radical overhaul of British policing, there is ‘nothing to stop another Couzens operating in plain sight’.

She urged ‘all those in authority in every police force in the country’ to read the report and ‘take immediate action’.

But despite the stark warning to police forces, Ms Kalam said she could not find what specific practice had been adopted by West Midlands Police to address her experiences, nor had she been able to meet with the chief constable to discuss it. 

The BBC said it had also failed to clarify what specific changes have been put in place either.

Couzens (pictured) was a serving officer in the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit
Serving firearms officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped the Sarah Everard (pictured) in March 2021 before driving her from London to woods near his home in Deal, Kent, where he raped and murdered her before dumping her body
Wayne Couzens looks at a picture of Sarah Everard as it is held up to a protective screen while he is being quizzed by detectives at Wandsworth police station in London

However, the corporation did confirm that none of the 19 firearms officers whose alleged behaviour was presented in evidence at Ms Kalam’s tribunal were suspended or sacked. 

Ms Kalam told the BBC she would not encourage young women to join the police because of what she experienced.

‘There are some amazing firearms officers who work tirelessly to protect the public. To the other ones, I wouldn’t trust them around any female member of my family’ she said.

Ms Kalam has now said she will campaign to bring about the changes need.

She started by giving away most of her £820,000 sex discrimination case compensation from West Midlands Police to charities who work on police perpetuated abuse.

When asked by Channel 4 why she decided to give the money away, she said: ‘Because I never asked for it. I never wanted one penny.

‘The centre for women’s justice to such great work around police perpetuated abuse, that’s what’s happened to me, as much as I hate to admit it.

‘So to give something back is a real positive.’

In November West Midlands Police was put is in special measures – meaning it is being subjected to extra government scrutiny – after watchdogs found it was not carrying out its investigations effectively or managing the risk to the public posed by sex offenders.

In January, following Ms Kalam’s tribunal win, West Midlands force confirmed three serving firearms officers were suspended and ten were in the disciplinary process.

But the BBC has reported none of that number were among the 19 officers who were referenced in the tribunal case. It is not yet clear what type of behaviour these probes are focused on.

West Midlands Police said it currently has five females (three officers and two police staff) who have a current formal grievance case.

Deputy Chief Constable Scott Green told told MailOnline: ‘We again apologise for the serious issues raised by Mrs Kalam and for the significant impact that these have had on her.

‘As we have previously said – but it is important to reiterate – there is no place in policing for misogynistic, discriminatory or disrespectful behaviour and much progress has been made to set and reinforce the highest standards of conduct and professionalism. 

‘Over the past two years, under the leadership of Chief Superintendent Sarah Burton, officers and staff in the Firearms Unit have worked hard to improve culture, standards and the working environment.

‘We continue to make progress to ensure that we are trusted by the public as we go about our duty to protect them.’

The decision to award Ms Kalam compensation for loss of earnings and pension was the ‘unanimous decision of the tribunal panel’.

READ MORE: Former MoD police officer WINS discrimination case after she was sacked for failing bleep test exam as tribunal rules the test does not consider ‘innate biological differences’ 

West Midlands Police also faced a substantial bill in legal costs, but has refused to disclose how much money was spent fighting the case. 

At the time Ms Kalam said: ‘Instead of promptly carrying out a thorough investigation when I reported these issues, West Midlands Police engaged in a campaign of victim blaming. However, my experience has shown that truth is authentic vindication.

‘It has taken the loss of my career, health, and security to plead with WMP to not leave Women at risk, including its own female officers through lack of provision of gender specific uniform and through discriminatory practices.

‘ I have sought to highlight to the force that they must take action to address the risks and consequences left as result of ignorance or procedural failure.

‘Our officers deserve more, and the public expect nothing less.’

The tribunal heard Ms Kalam wasn’t given an easy trigger hand-gun like male officers and was told to wear a compression bra to fit into body armour designed for men, and found Ms Kalam would have made the rank of superintendent if it were not for her mistreatment.

In March 2012 Ms Kalam was required to act as a ‘stooge’ in a mock training exercise, and was ‘stripped down to her underwear’ so first aid could be given.

The tribunal previously heard Ms Kalam was also forced to pose for a photoshoot when five months pregnant.

She was also told she would not pass a training course if she did not agree to be a ‘poster girl’ for the firearms unit, where she was one of only seven women amongst 250 men.

Judge Camp previously ruled police were guilty of sex discrimination by not ordering body armour specifically for her and said the force had harassed her by making her the ‘poster girl’ and the ‘stooge’ in the mock training exercise.

Ms Kalam was originally seeking £1.2million in compensation, but the panel dismissed her claim for ‘aggravated’ damages.

Scott Green, the force’s Deputy Chief Constable, said at the time a raft of improvement measures have since been introduced, including involving female firearm officers in the testing new gender-specific uniform and equipment.

He said many of the issues highlighted in the case dated back to 2012 when Ms Kalam joined the firearms unit, adding that since then, ‘staff in the Firearms Unit have worked hard to improve culture, standards and the working environment.’

He said: ‘I am sorry that more was not done sooner to address the serious issues raised by Mrs Kalam and I apologise for the significant impact that these have had on her which has been highlighted during the tribunal.

READ MORE: Senior female armed police officer wins £30,000 payout after being made to strip to her underwear and told ‘just because you have t**s does not mean you can’t do a press-up’

‘There is no place in policing for misogynistic, discriminatory or disrespectful behaviour and much progress has been made to set and reinforce the highest standards of conduct and professionalism.’

He said the force had also reviewed the recruitment process for firearms officers ‘to increase the diversity of people who apply and remove barriers to recruitment.’

Dep Chf Con Green added: ‘We have also changed and bolstered the leadership in our Operations and Firearms units.

‘Alongside this we have changed how our firearms officers work as part of our local policing model to support our neighbourhood and response teams in serving local communities.

‘The tribunal recognises that we have taken the grievance and disciplinary matters raised by Mrs Kalam seriously. The steps we have taken are helping us to attract and retain the best and most diverse people in firearms policing, and benefit those already working in this critical area.

‘We continue to make progress to ensure that we are trusted by the public as we go about our duty to protect them.’



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