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1992: Top policewoman suspended from duty
Britain's most senior policewoman Alison Halford has been suspended from duty for a second time following a police authority meeting.

The move is the latest in an 18-month battle which began when she started a sex discrimination case in which she alleged senior officers and the Home Office had blocked her path to further promotion.

Merseyside Police Authority concluded after a four-hour meeting that disciplinary proceedings would be re-started against her.

The body made public for the first time allegations that the 51-year-old assistant chief constable had been drunk on duty while she was the senior officer in charge of the force on 24 July 1990.

She is also accused of sharing a Jacuzzi with a male policeman in her underwear.

Merseyside Police Authority said in a statement issued by David Henshaw, clerk to the authority, that the alleged incidents occurred when Ms Halford was the duty officer for the area.

The charges against her are that she failed to maintain contact with her force and that she had rendered herself unfit to carry out her duties.

Ms Halford is also accused of behaving discreditably by offering free transport and hospitality to others and in spending time with a male officer in a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi bath.

Finally it is alleged that she told falsehoods to her Chief Constable, James Sharples.

Lawyers for Ms Halford, who did not attend the meeting, said that she was feeling unwell because of the distress caused by the authority's latest decision.

Ms Halford was originally suspended from her 40,000-a-year job 13 months ago shortly after she began her sex discrimination case.

But a High Court judge said the way disciplinary proceedings were launched "had the smell of unfairness about it" and ruled that her suspension was unlawful last December.

It is understood that she had been hoping to return to work next Monday.

The industrial tribunal which will hear her claim of sex discrimination - backed by the Equal Opportunities Commission - is set for summer.

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Alison Halford
Ms Halford is accused of sharing a Jacuzzi with a male policeman


In Context
The case continued until July when after two years, Ms Halford decided to settle out of court and abandon her effort to prove that she was denied promotion through sexual discrimination.

The 51-year-old decided to take early retirement on health grounds and she was awarded an ex-gratia payment of 10,000.

The suspension and disciplinary charges were dropped when Ms Halford retired from the force in September 1992.

Merseyside Police Force appointed Pauline Clare as her replacement after she won the post against competition from four male officers.

In 1997 Ms Halford won a landmark phone-tapping case in the European Court of Human Rights which forced a review of UK legislation.

It was revealed that her office had been bugged by her colleagues when she worked at Merseyside Police Authority.

Ms Halford went on to join the Labour Party and became a member of the Welsh Assembly.

Stories From 9 Jan


 
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