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Female West Midlands firearms officer 'told to wear compression bra and make do with men's uniform', tribunal hears

A female police officer could receive a record £1.2 million payout from West Midlands Police due to alleged misogyny within the force's firearms unit.

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Rebecca Callum says she was told to wear a compression bra and make do with a male uniform while working as a ballistics officer. Photo: Channel 4.

Rebecca Callum claims she felt "belittled" and "devalued" when working as a ballistics officer, where she was one of only seven women in a unit with 235 men.

It has been reported by Channel 4 that while working in the firearms team, the officer expressed concern that there was no body armour specifically designed for female officers.

When she expressed her worries, she was simply told to "wear a compression bra" and make do with men's armour, which "didn't fit, was painful to wear, and left her feeling unprotected", the tribunal heard.

Channel 4 has also revealed some of the 40-year-old's other complaints, including that she was made to strip down to her underwear in front of male colleagues during training exercises.

Furthermore, she alleges that while she was five months pregnant, she was told she was the poster girl for the unit as a female Asian ballistics officer, and would have to pose for a photo shoot, despite not being able to fit into her uniform.

Other alleged instances which added to a toxic environment for women include male officers in the ballistics unit drawing genitalia on notice boards and repeatedly using the word c**t.

West Midlands Police has admitted to 75 allegations made as part of the employment tribunal, Channel 4 claims, which started on Tuesday and is due to run for two weeks.

Channel 4 also says that the misogyny the officer faced had a "devastating impact on her wellbeing", leading to her transferring out of the unit and into the force's CID.

If she succeeds at the tribunal, she could receive one of the biggest payouts of its kind and be awarded £1.2m.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: "It is inappropriate to comment on these matters while the Employment Tribunal proceedings are ongoing.

"All female officers in the Firearms Unit have been issued with uniform and equipment which meets their specific requirements, including formed ballistic protection."

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