Sislin Fay Allen: Britain’s first black policewoman dies in Jamaica

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Sislin Fay Allen

Sislin Fay Allen joined the Metropolitan Police in 1968 and was the first black policewoman in Britain. She died aged 83 at her home in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Sislin Fay Allen was an inspiration for many when she became the first black female police officer in the Met and the UK in 1968.

Sislin was working as a nurse at Croydon’s Queens Hospital when she decided to switch careers after seeing a recruitment advert for male and female officers.

“I was on my lunchbreak and during that time I was going through the paper. I saw this advert and they were recruiting police officers,” she told Sky News last year.

“So, I looked at it and thought, ‘why not?’ I cut the advert out and put it in my pocket and said, ‘when I have time, I’ll fill it out’. After I finished work around seven, I went home filled it out and posted it off. I thought nothing of it.”

Within weeks she was invited for an interview.

“They posted some forms for me to fill out and return. I did that and at the end, I penned at the bottom of it that I was a black woman. I didn’t want that if I had succeeded and when they saw me, they didn’t know I was black.

“So, I specifically wrote there, that I was black.”

She trained at Peel House and her first posting was at Fell Road police station in Croydon, so she could be stationed near her family and where she lived. Following her appointment.

After spending a year at Croydon, she was posted to the Missing Persons Bureau at Scotland Yard. She later transferred to Norbury police station. In 1972, Sislin resigned from the Met and returned to Jamaica with her Jamaican-born husband and two children.

In Jamaica, she continued her policing career and joined the Jamaica Constabulary. She later returned to the UK with her family and moved to south London. Sislin returned to Jamaica where she sadly passed away aged 83 at her home in Ocho Rios.

A statement from her family said: “It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of her beloved mother, Sislin.Advertisement

“She passed away at her home in Jamaica, Ocho Rios. As the first black female police officer in the Metropolitan police force, she not only paved the way for so many other minority and female officers, she set the bar.

“Last year, she was given a special award for her accomplishments by the National Black Police Association, after Sky News visited her in Jamaica in celebration of Black History Month.

“We thank everyone for all their support.”

After receiving her award, Mrs Allen said: “I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I am really humbled by it all. I want to thank everyone in policing who has given me this.

“It has been such a long time but it is better to be late than never. I remain happy that I did what I did.”

Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association, said: “Her contribution to policing in the United Kingdom cannot be underestimated.

Sislin Fay Allen has died aged 83
Image:Mrs Allen joined the Metropolitan Police in 1968

“The courage that trailblazers like her showed in joining the police service allowed others to follow a career in policing.

“We thought it was fitting to name an annual award in her honour to showcase her contribution to policing and to ensure a long-lasting legacy is created in her name to recognise fellow trailblazers in policing today.”

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