London

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner loses towel tribunal

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner

A senior Met Police officer has lost a sex discrimination case sparked after a male colleague was seen in a corridor wearing only a towel.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner lost the case brought by Ch Insp Adrian Denby.

The incident was her "pet hate" as it made female staff uncomfortable.

But she was found to have discriminated against Ch Insp Denby by placing him under an internal and criminal investigation.

Ch Insp Denby was in charge of the Central London Territorial Support Group (TSG) unit at the time of the incident.

DAC de Bunner wanted to make the unit "more attractive" to women and ethic minorities by challenging its macho culture, the Central London Employment Tribunal heard.

The investigation into the unit involved beer being found in a fridge with a price list on the front, allegations of homophobic bullying and claims for overtime which had not been worked.

Ch Insp Denby said he regretted not addressing the practice of male staff walking across the office wearing only a towel because of the "poor design" of shower facilities.

He said he was left with a "clear impression" that he was removed from his post because of the cultural failings DAC de Bunner felt existed - and she had shown no interest in the improvements he tried to tell her about.

The situation resulted in Ch Insp Denby being placed under internal and criminal investigation.

'Not credible'

A damning judgment found that Ch Insp Denby had been sexually discriminated against.

The tribunal said he was an "impressive and straightforward witness" and, by contrast, it concluded that Ms de Brunner's testimony was "not credible".

In a statement Scotland Yard said: "We have sought leave to appeal the findings".

In 2008 Ch Insp Denby was seconded to Afghanistan, where he worked as temporary superintendent and senior adviser to the Kabul City Police.

In the UK he has commanded numerous suspected suicide bomber incidents and has been awarded nine commendations throughout his career.

A damages hearing will be held in October.

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