A top cop worried by the lack of senior female staff in his department moaned to other officers that it was “too ck heavy”.
Superintendent Norman Haslett admitted making the remark on several occasions during an industrial tribunal taken by PSNI officer Michael Bradley, which rejected the latter’s claim about being the victim of gender discrimination and harassment.
Sergeant Bradley is based in Operations Planning for the Belfast District located in Musgrave Street Station.
The unit, known as the ‘branch’ by officers, was run by Superintendent Haslett who is one of the most senior police officers in the city.
In evidence to the tribunal, he accepted using the term “too ck heavy” on occasion to describe the lack of variety in the gender balance of the group of supervising officers in his department.
Superintendent Haslett said he wanted to promote a culture of diversity and that his group of senior cops should be more reflective of constable ranks in Belfast.
When he took over in February 2017 all of these officers, which included one chief inspector, two inspectors and five sergeants, were male.
Although his use of the term “ck heavy” is open to criticism, the tribunal found that no one had been offended or intimidated by this “relatively industrial language in the setting and context on which it was used”.
Superintendent Haslett later admitted that the phrase “had been an unfortunate choice of words”, with the tribunal finding it was a reference to him noticing an obvious lack of diversity in the unit.
The tribunal ruled: “He had been doing what he had been supposed to do, although he might have expressed it in less colourful terms”.
In December 2018, Superintendent Haslett left his role at the helm of the PSNI’s Operations Planning for the Belfast District. The move had nothing to do with issues raised during the tribunal.
Of the nine senior officers currently in Operations Planning Belfast District, just one is female. However, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told Sunday Life that 19 of the total number of 30 officers in the section are female.
He also said that three of the four superintendents within the PSNI’s overall Belfast command are female.
PSNI officers who alerted Sunday Life to the tribunal said Superintendent Haslett’s language was mild compared to some of the rants they have heard.
One said: “The language inside any police station is often colourful, I’ve heard senior officers use phrases way more offensive than ‘ck heavy’. Ultimately it didn’t cause any harm.”