Firearms squad was unsupportive

#1
Whilst it is a great shame that this officer felt strongly enough to commit suicide, surely the findings of this report are way out of line. She failed the tests SIX times and even shot a target in the wrong lane. How could they justify allowing her to continue as a firearms officer?

Do they have a duty to 'care' and be supportive for someone who has repeatedly failed to make the grade, or should people just accpet that they are not up to the job?

A police gun squad which expelled a woman who was later found hanging was labelled unsupportive to minorities in a report, an inquest has heard.

The report was commissioned after Pc Paula Tomlinson, 35, was found dead at her home in Southport in January 2004.

Pc Tomlinson, who was one of two women among Merseyside Police's 95 firearms officers, had been upset after being ejected for failing proficiency tests.

She believed senior officers resented her success, the Sefton inquest heard.


In the report which followed Pc Tomlinson's death, Ch Supt Suzette Davenport, of West Mercia Police, wrote that "the culture that pervaded at the time... was not at all supportive in general, but especially if you were from a minority group".

When the excerpt was read to retired Supt Stephen Gittins, who was in charge of the firearms unit and had co-authored the report, he denied hearing or reading such sentiments.

Two other authors of the report also wrote that that there had been no suggestions of bullying during their investigations.

Mr Gittins said Pc Tomlinson had not been victimised or bullied and had been expelled for failing six re-qualification shoots and she had suffered from physical shaking.

"The fact that she failed to re-qualify on six occasions, that she hit the target in the wrong lane on two occasions and her physical demeanour in the shoots meant it was extremely unlikely she would ever retain her shooting authority," he added.
BBC
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#2
It sounds fair enough to me. If you can't pass the test, you don't get the job. She actually sounded more dangerous to her own people, than the 'bad guys'.
 
#3
Legs said:
It sounds fair enough to me. If you can't pass the test, you don't get the job.
Various recent news stories would indicate that this is not how the police work any more.

Sadly it's more like: 'If you can't pass the test, you don't get the job. Unless you are from an under-represented ethnic or other minority group, in which case here are your joining instructions.'
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#4
ViroBono said:
Legs said:
It sounds fair enough to me. If you can't pass the test, you don't get the job.
Various recent news stories would indicate that this is not how the police work any more.

Sadly it's more like: 'If you can't pass the test, you don't get the job. Unless you are from an under-represented ethnic or other minority group, in which case here are your joining instructions.'
Well, VB, it actually sounds like positive discrimination didn't happen in this case (unless it was used to get her on the course). She was a minority, and she still kept failing the tests. The testing process worked as it should. The fact that she took her own life, though regretable and very sad, just goes to show that she didn't have what it takes to do the job. Can you imagine what her reaction would have been if she had actually fired and killed a 'bad guy', or even worse an innocent bystander/collegue?
 
#5
so as the consequence of being rejected as a fire arms officer she took her own life?


so pysche profile

emotionally stable?

proportionately responsive?

i'm ever so surprised she didn't make the grade
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#6
As with all cases, happen to know that there is much more to this one than is reported. Coroners inquest ongoing, appears there were serious leadership failings within Merseyside Police leading to a bullying and unsupportive culture that was very unhealthy.

Be slow to judge this case, Coroners verdict will be v interesting. And connect with Telegraph reports of last week of the same force failing to discipline proportionately those guilty of sending racist and offensive emails. Perhaps the fault may not lie with the individual in this case?
 
#8
I must echo my sympathy for the deceased and her family. I just wanted to spark a debate about the claims that she was driven to suicide because she had not been helped or dealt with sensitively enough when she failed to meet the required standards.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#9
There may well have been some underlying issues, but given the responsibility that FOs have to burden and the speed at which they are criticised when they get it wrong, I for one am glad that they do weed out those who cannot make the grade. I'm just concerned at how many attempts Merseyside gave her. It is indeed sad that this lass killed herself and there may very well be other reasons which influenced her, but lets not get too carried away. She had six attempts? At what point were they going to pass her? We have seen similar conduct in our training centres where soldiers are tested until they pass. I for one am glad that she didn't make the grade. Can you imagine the field day the Press would have had had she been involved in an incident and got it wrong. I feel that Merseyside may have been ubder some pressure to have a 'female' on the team and that they gave her more chances than she perhaps deserved.

Poltical correctness has more than had a hand in the amount of chances she was given. Personally, I wouldn't have had the front to go back after failing on the second occasion. She was obviously made of sterner stuff than me or perhaps placed to much store in her gender being favoured in the PC climate we have lived in now for the past decade.
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#10
Again, be very slow to judge on this case. There will be a host of coroners observations on this and the entire system will take a hit. A lack of decent leadership meant that she was treated v badly throughout. As for six fails, again, you need to be very clear what that meant at the time. Also bear in mind she was aleady a trained AFO, ARV and rifle officer, not an officer attempting to pass. And she recd no remedial training between failing one shoot then the next - hardly the way to improve someones skills.

Not well handled, not well led and not well looked after. Tested against a standard not recognised elsewhere and under 'unique' working conditions with a very unsupportive culture that did not want any minorities in it. If that describes where you work, you better hope no one there tops themselves. Cos you might end up in Coroners Court too.

As I said, watch the coroners comments over the coming days
 
#11
C What would have happened if the tree huggers had got their way and she remained in active duty....shooting a target in the wrong lane could easily have been shooting an innocent bystander in the REAL world! Regardless of the number of fails she was "shaking" on the range 8O , so there is no way she should be on the streets with a gun. Considering that she was the sort of emotionally unstable loser who would top herself, the decision to remove her from firearms duty should be applauded. Furthermore, if she was so shallow as to feel incomplete without her gun then she is better off not carrying one.
 
#13
Veg: Couldn't care less what you think. You smack of the sort of individual that would idly stand by and let any unqualified/unstable idiot walk the beat with a firearm. Are you so cavalier with your own soldiers?

She was being reassigned back to routine police duties! it was not as if she was being given the sack for failing, as she was an experienced an qualified PC already. To many people get over emotional about the small shit nowadays and everyone else in command is then blamed as being insensitive. The good officers above her went out of their way (more than they would have done for a male PC i expect) to give her opportunities to re qualify for firearms duties. She still had a job, but it was obviously firearms or nothing.
 
#14
Renavatio, if you'd been bothered to check you would realise veg is a copper and not a soldier. While your sentiments have some merit your powers of expression and subtlety are more than a little lacking.
 
#15
Veg: Couldn't care less what you think. You smack of the sort of individual that would idly stand by and let any unqualified/unstable idiot walk the beat with a firearm. Are you so cavalier with your own soldiers?
^ You don't know dick about me.

Your post insinuates something very distasteful if you go back and re-read it. You could always go back and edit it, couldn't you?
 
#16
Thanks very much Veg.
 
#17
^ No offence, Ord_Sgt, I was replying to the other bloke and posted the same time as you. I have gone back and quoted him.

I know how that looks, it wasn't meant at you!
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#18
renovatio

I sincerely hope you are not, nor ever put, in a leadership position. In any capacity. Ever.

Do you know how the 'good officers' above her went out of their way to help her? No?

Then perhaps you should get yourself to Sefton Coroners Court and hear just how well she was looked after. Yes, they probably did go out of their way to ensure she got special treatment because she was a woman. And not in a good way. No such thing as bad soldiers, only bad officers - suspect this applies in all walks of life and this case might well prove it.
 
#19
Non taken, I knew what you meant - I did type a smiley, or so I thought.

Back on thread though, why was there no remedial training for her after the first failure? That should have been the first IA drill.
 
#20
I find it hard to believe that failing the Firearms test was the sole reason for the Officer to end her life as she did and that a decent enquiry, as opposed to some politically correct fcuking witchunt, which this seems to be, would have discovered that other factors, contributing to her failing her test, were more than likely involved and weighing on her mind
 

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