A former detective inspector has accused West Midlands police protection officers tasked with safeguarding Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai of using derogatory language towards her, the MailOnline reported.
Rebecca Kalam alleged that the officers referred to Malala as ‘Tikka Masala,’ a deeply offensive term, on multiple occasions.
This disturbing revelation is part of a series of allegations made by Kalam against the police force, including claims of racism, misogyny, and toxic behaviour.
Yousafzai, who gained worldwide recognition for advocating girls’ education, was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan in 2012. She was later airlifted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment and has since become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Kalam recently won an employment case against West Midlands Police and has now shared details of the troubling incidents she witnessed during her tenure.
Kalam, who is potentially set to receive a record settlement for this type of case, revealed that the police force has accepted a total of 75 allegations related to misconduct.
She asserted that officers within the force referred to their duty in central Birmingham as ‘pussy patrol,’ where they would allegedly engage in inappropriate behaviour such as ‘gawking at females’ and discussing their desire to sleep with them.
Kalam also disclosed instances of sexual harassment during her ten years in the unit, including one former colleague exposing himself to her and another attempting to grab her inappropriately.
Additionally, she claimed that she was subjected to a strip search down to her underwear in front of male colleagues during a training exercise and was told that, as an ethnic minority, she had to be the ‘poster girl’ for the unit.
“We should be trusting those officers to protect them. If that was your daughter, and you knew firearms officers were doing that, I know I’d be concerned if I had a daughter,” she was quoted as saying by the media outlet.
West Midlands Police have confirmed that sixteen officers faced ‘low-level sanctions or advice’ following a probe by the Professional Standards Department into the Firearms Unit.
“There is no place for misogynistic, discriminatory, or disrespectful behavior in policing, and we are working hard to set and reinforce the highest standards,” said deputy chief constable Scott Green.
According to the report, efforts to improve the working environment, culture, and standards within the Firearms Unit are underway, with the leadership of chief superintendent Sarah Burton.
Measures include the provision of female-specific uniform and equipment and the involvement of female firearms officers in trialling and assessing new gear.
These steps aim to create a more inclusive and respectful atmosphere within the force while ensuring the safety and professionalism of officers tasked with safeguarding the public, the report added.