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Cases of bullying and harassment

Over the years I have spoken to many targets of bullying and harassment, and have heard a variety of their experiences. It seems to me that these individuals should be given a voice, partly for the cathartic benefits to them, and partly as a way of raising awareness, not only of the range of bullying and harassment behaviour, but also of the effects it can have on targets. When you read these accounts think also about their impact on families, colleagues, working relationships and the reputation of the organisation.

The accounts shown are in the words of targets themselves. I have no reason to doubt their veracity but I cannot be responsible for their content. The only changes I have made are to ensure the anonymity of the authors. I'm sure the experiences related are so common that they will strike a chord in quite a few minds.

The Mature Police Probationer

I was an experienced Special Constable and an associate trainer and was also recommended for promotion shortly before I left to join the regular force. I joined a Force in another part of the country, sold my home and bought a house near to where I was to be based.

Everything started going well up until the end of last year when a newly appointed sergeant joined the relief. At first he took an instant dislike to myself and another probationer and went out of his way to give us both more hand-ons than any other member of the relief. We had more targets to reach etc. This went on for a number of months. The sergeant would also constantly call us up on the radio to check up when we were doing and generally undermining us. My probationer colleague had the chance of moving to a different relief and took it.

I was still being bullied but now more so as I was the only probationer on the shift. I remember an interview I conducted of a suspect. I had planned the interview in the same way I always planned them. The sergeant stated he wanted to come into the interview and part way through took charge of the interview. After the interview I spoke to the Inspector on the shift and explained what had happened. The Inspector listened to tapes of 6 of my interviews and was happy with the way they were conducted.

To cut a very long story short, colleagues on the relief saw what was going on and reported the sergeant to the federation rep. When the fed rep came into see me the first thing he said was that it would be in my interest to resign. I was taken aback as I had given a lot to join the job. I explained that I believed I was being bullied and each time the fed rep said it is difficult to prove and he would advise not going down that road.

I was being pressured over several months by the fed rep to resign and reports were being submitted about my performance which were all untrue. I compiled a file of evidence on what was being written about me and managed to disprove most of the lies.

Eventually a case conference was called and after some 4 hours I was told I was going to be dismissed under Reg 13. My PDP or file of evidence was not referred to at any stage by senior officers present at the case conference. My PDP was just over 2 volumes and very comprehensive. I was told that the DCC would have the ultimate say in my future and I requested a meeting with him. The fed rep said it wouldn't be possible and I said I would organise the meeting myself. Reluctantly the fed rep organised the meeting. I took my file of evidence and the DCC was impressed with its contents and asked if I could leave it with him. A few weeks later I found out that the file of evidence mysteriously disappeared. Fortunately I had a copy on my computer at home.

After some weeks the DCC came up with his verdict that I would be dismissed. I was absolutely gutted and so were my colleagues. My colleagues organised a night out a few weeks later and supervisors and colleagues from other shifts and departments came along and all said that I had been stitched up. Prior to the night out I had received a text on my mobile phone saying along the lines, "Glad you are gone. The shift is better without you". I didn't recognise the number and showed the text to colleagues who confirmed it was the sergeant's mobile number!!

It took me almost 5 months to find another job and I almost lost my home. This situation put tremendous pressure on my partner and I and we split up a few months ago as a result. I am now back working but in a job earning just over half of what I was earning as a police officer. I understand from the federation I have also lost my pension which is very frustrating as I had transferred previous pensions to the police one.

Dr. K.M.McIvor © 2008

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Dr. K.M.McIvor © 2009

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