POLICE Scotland is to pay a former officer almost £1 million after a tribunal found evidence of a “sexist culture” in the organisation.

Former firearms officer Rhona Malone won the payout after a four-year battle which started after a senior member of the force, Keith Warhurst, said he did not want to see two women deployed together “when there are sufficient male staff”.

An Employment Tribunal found a "horrific" workplace culture in the armed policing unit and accepted evidence of an “absolute boys’ club”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon praises firearms officer Rhona Malone on tribunal outcome

The tribunal also found:

  • Rachel Coates, a former colleague of Malone, was told by the chief firearms instructor that women should not become authorised firearms officers (AFOs) "because they menstruated and that affected their temperament".
  • When Coates asked if women AFOs could wear trousers and a top, rather than a one-piece, so it would be easier to go to the toilet, the chief firearms instructor swore at her.
  • Warhurst posted images of topless women to a WhatsApp group of male sergeants. A colleague messaged him and told him it was inappropriate.
  • Another former colleague of Malone overheard Warhust calling one of the female Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) agents "a wee lassie".
  • Coates and another colleague, Zara Taylor, left their division as they were "not confident that the sexist culture … was going to change and felt their sex was always going to be a barrier to promotion".

Malone alleged sex discrimination and victimisation. Her victimisation claims succeeded but the discrimination claim was dismissed.

In a joint statement released on Friday, the force and Malone said they had agreed she would be paid £947,909.07 as part of the settlement.

Their statement read: “An Employment Tribunal upheld multiple victimisation claims under the Equality Act 2010 in favour of former Police Constable Rhona Malone in a judgment issued on 5 October, 2021.

“A settlement, including a payment of £947,909.07, has now been agreed which will conclude her legal claim in the Employment Tribunal.

“The Chief Constable has provided a personal apology to Ms Malone for the serious issues highlighted in the Employment Tribunal judgment, including Police Scotland’s poor response when a dedicated and promising officer raised legitimate concerns. The Chief Constable also emphasised his personal commitment to leading change in policing in Scotland which drives equality and inclusion to improve the experiences of all women, including our own officers and staff. The Chief Constable reiterates this apology and commitment.

“In the days after the judgment was issued, the Chief Constable made a commitment to commission an external police service to carry out an independent review of the Employment Tribunal decision and make any recommendations which require action by Police Scotland whether they relate to performance, conduct, or culture. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is finalising that work.”