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‘I remember trying to run away and nearly breaking my leg’: First Black woman to serve in Met police dies aged 83

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The first Black female police officer in Britain and the Metropolitan Police, Sislin Fay Allen, has died aged 83 at her home in Jamaica.

Sislin joined the Met in 1968, just a year after the first Black male officer was recruited, after working as a nurse at Croydon’s Queens Hospital.

She trained at Peel House and her first posting was in Croydon, so she could be stationed near her family and home.

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Sislin spoke to Sky News last year about the occasion.

“When I was at my graduation – the paparazzi were there. They were trying to get pictures, trying to hassle me and I remember trying to run away and falling over and nearly breaking my leg,” Sislin told Sky News.

Sislin served for four years with the Met before continuing her policing career in Jamaica

“People would come up to me, some congratulated me and thought it was pleasant to see a Black person, but some thought it wasn’t.”

After a year in Croydon, Sislin was posted to the Missing Persons Bureau at Scotland Yard. She was later transferred to Norbury police station.

She resigned in 1972 after four years of service and returned to Jamaica with her husband and two children.

There, she continued her policing career in the Jamaica Constabulary.

Sislin was given a lifetime achievement award in October at an event celebrating Black, Asian and minority ethnic female officers.

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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.

“We thank everyone for all their support.”

Other police officers expressed their condolences on social media.

Leroy Logan MBE said: “I know how tough it was for me to join the @metpoliceuk in the early 80’s, but it pales into insignificance in comparison to the remarkable Seslin Fay Allen as the 1st UK black female officer in 1968.

“She sadly died today in Jamaica, knowing she’d inspired many others to serve.”

President of the National Black Police Association Janet Hills MBE said: “Sad news about the passing of Sislin Faye Allen. I’m grateful to know that I was standing on the shoulders of a trailblazing woman, who I shared so much in common with.

“If not for her, who knows I may not have chosen the same career. May she rest in peace.”

“A true pioneer and trailblazer who paved the way for so many others,” Roads and Transport Police tweeted.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/i-remember-trying-run-away-20981685