Britain’s first black police woman, who served while living Thornton Heath has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award.
Sislin Faye Allen aka Aunty Pat lived on Parchmore Road from 1970 to 1973 and we featured her story in The Chronicle in May last year after her face appeared on underground posters in a bid to get more women to join the force particularly from ethnic minorities.
Now 82 and living in Jamaica she joined the Metropolitan Police in 1968, paving the way for other women of colour.
She was recognised at a ceremony celebrating black, Asian and minority ethnic female officers.
The National Black Police Association, which was established in response to the 1999 Macpherson inquiry, has also announced an annual award in Mrs Allen’s name will now be established to honour black women in policing.
Mrs Allen, said she feels “honoured and humbled” after being awarded the accolade.
Sky news featured her in report in October marking 50 years since she first made history as part of Black History Month.
Mrs Allen who spent four years at the Met received her award at a virtual ceremony held by the College of Policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Black Police Association.
She was recognised for “her desire to have a career in policing despite the discrimination she suffered”.
Mrs Allen told Sky: “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.”
The Home Secretary Priti Patel also praised Mrs Allen’s legacy saying it should not just be celebrated but commemorated and that the first black woman in policing is a ‘huge, huge landmark’.
Mrs Allen was presented with her award by Inspector Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association, told Sky: “Sislin is a trailblazer. It is wrong she has been overlooked for such a long time and she is a role model who now needs to be recognised wider.”
He said black officer numbers for both men and women remained a concern and is calling for urgent reforms, including building bridges of trust and accountability between police and their communities.
He said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get diversity in policing right. We need to reset the dial and start aligning our workforce with the communities we serve.
“Police leaders need to wake up and admit the problems. By denying the problems they are working to the detriment of ethnic minority communities.
Her daughter Lorna Allen who still lives in Croydon said the award was a ‘great honour’ and that her mother’s achievements have captured the hearts of the nation because of the focus on recognising diversity.