Sislin Fay Allen (20 March 1938 – 5 July 2021), known as Fay Allen, was a British and Jamaican police officer who was the first black woman police constable in the United Kingdom, serving in the Metropolitan Police in London from 1968 to 1972. She also worked for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Sislin Fay Allen
|Died||5 July 2021|
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
|Known for||First black woman police constable in the United Kingdom|
|Department||Metropolitan Police |
Jamaica Constabulary Force
|Branch||Missing Persons Bureau|
|Service years||1968–1972 (Met) |
|Awards||Lifetime achievement award|
Early life and familyEdit
Allen was born in Jamaica, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1961 or 1962. She lived in Thornton Heath, Croydon. She qualified as a state registered nurse and worked at Queen's Hospital, Croydon, a geriatric facility in south London. She was married to a fellow Jamaican immigrant and had two children.
Allen had always been interested in the police and in 1968 saw a recruitment advertisement in the newspaper, applied, and was selected. The first black officer in the British police since the 19th century, Norwell Roberts, had only joined the Metropolitan Police the previous year. "On the day I joined I nearly broke a leg trying to run away from reporters," she told an interviewer later. "I realised then that I was a history maker. But I didn't set out to make history; I just wanted a change of direction."
After training at Peel House for 13 weeks, she was posted to Fell Road police station in Croydon, where she lived, on 29 April 1968, aged 29. She experienced more prejudice from the black community than from her colleagues or from white people in Croydon, and was met largely with curiosity and considerable interest from the media, although the Metropolitan Police did receive some racist mail about her appointment. The threatening and abusive letters she received when she started working at Fell Road made her consider whether she wanted to remain in the force. After a year in Croydon, she was posted to the Missing Persons Bureau at Scotland Yard for a while before being transferred back to the beat at Norbury police station.
In 1972, she resigned from the Metropolitan Police to return to Jamaica with her family. There she joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Eventually, she returned to England; as of 2015, she lived in South London. In 2020, she was given a lifetime achievement award by the National Black Police Association.
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- Fair Cop: A Century of British Policewomen, BBC, 2015.
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- "100 years of women in the Met Police". BBC Newsround. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Jamaican Policewoman Joins Force", British Pathé
- "Immigrants urged to Show restraint". The Guardian. 30 April 1968. p. 24. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
- The Times, 30 April 1968
- Ali, Tariq (1998). 1968, marching in the streets. Watkins, Susan. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-85360-4. OCLC 38732030.
- "'Abuse' for first coloured policewoman". The Guardian. 29 April 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 10 July 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sislin Fay Allen: Britain's first black policewoman dies aged 83". BBC News. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
- "Sislin Fay Allen: Britain's first black policewoman dies in Jamaica". Sky News. 5 July 2021.