British PM pays tribute to Jamaican trailblazer Sislin Fay AllenMonday, July 12, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined in mourning the death of Jamaican-born Sislin Fay Allen, Britain's first black policewoman who died last week, aged 83, at her home in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
“Mr Speaker, I'm sure the whole House would like to join me in sending condolences to the family and friends of Sislin Fay Allen who died earlier this week (last week),” Johnson said in brief tribute to the Jamaican trailblazer.
“She was the United Kingdom's first black female police officer and she served in the Metropolitan Police,” Johnson acknowledged.
Sislin Fay Allen joined the Metropolitan Police in 1968, applying while she was working as a nurse at Queen's Hospital in Croydon, South London.
“I was on my lunch break 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, Sky News said.
“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,” Allen explained.
She resigned from the Met in 1972, before continuing her career in policing in Jamaica.
She was given a lifetime achievement award last October at a virtual event celebrating black, Asian and minority ethnic female officers.
In his tribute to Allen, president of the National Black Police Association Andy George said: “Her contribution to policing in the United Kingdom cannot be underestimated. 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.”