Britain’s first black policewoman dies in Jamaica

Sislin Allen

Britain’s first black policewoman, Sislin Fay Allen, has died at the age of 83.

She was given a lifetime achievement award in October at a virtual event celebrating black, Asian and minority ethnic female officers. She had been living in Jamaica at the time of her death.

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

“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 in celebration of Black History Month.”

Sislin Allen

Mrs Allen joined the Metropolitan Police in 1968. She applied while she was working as a nurse at Queens Hospital in Croydon, south London.

“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 media 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 resigned from the Met in 1972, before continuing her career in policing in Jamaica.

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.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.”