Sislin Fay Allen: Britain’s First Black Policewoman

By Duchess Magazine

In an era when the sight of a woman in uniform irked chauvinists, racists couldn’t dare believe a woman, a black woman for that matter could have the audacity. 15th February 1968 came as a rude shock to many when a then 29 year old Jamaica-born Sislin Fay Allen became the first black woman to join London’s Metropolitan Police Force.

Overcoming racism, her bravery would see her through even the toughest of times, thereby opening door for many other black women officers today.

Rightly dubbed a pioneer, icon and legend Sislin Fay Allen, Britain’s first black policewoman courageously overcame the odds in a profession where racism and inequality was in full swing.

Before becoming a police officer, Sislin was working as a nurse at Croydon’s Queens Hospital but upon stumbling on a recruiting advert for officers, the married mum of two decided to switch careers and join the police force. Worthy of note was the fact that just one year earlier, the first black man Norwell Roberts joined the Metropolitan police force. Allen
got her first posting was at Fell Road police station in Croydon but was greeted to countless hate mails from the public, both white and black in Croydon.

Through it all, the praise, the sneers, the hate she triumphed and continued serving till 1972 when she resigned from the Met and returned to Jamaica with her family. While in Jamaica, she continued her policing career and joined the Jamaica Constabulary but later returned back to the UK and later finally settled in her home country Jamaica. Sislin Fay Allen, now 82, overcame discrimination and prejudices to become an inspiration for many.

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