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Force 'reduced me to tears' - police worker; Woman tells tribunal her life was wrecked after employer left her to struggle in job.

Byline: Katie Norman

SOUTH Wales Police have been accused of driving an employee to a nervous breakdown after constant bullying.

Susan Keylock, of Hillsboro Place, Porthcawl, said her former bosses at the force left her feeling suicidal and depressed after they failed to support her or provide adequate training when changes to her duties at work were imposed.

At a tribunal at Caradog House, Cardiff, Mrs Keylock claimed constant harassment had caused her health to deteriorate and destroyed her self esteem, to the point of constructive dismissal.

She said: "They have destroyed my self-esteem, my confidence and my ability to function in a normal everyday routine. At times I have felt suicidal.

"It is only with the unconditional support of my family that I have managed to get through the past two years."

The problems began when Mrs Keylock was appointed as a budget officer against her wishes. She had worked in administration for South Wales Police for more than 25 years but said the new role involved duties she was unfamiliar with.

Mrs Keylock claimed the managers failed to provide adequate training and reduced her to tears by pointing out her failings.

The situation reached breaking point when Mrs Keylock spent every day of her annual leave in bed.

She said: "I could not bear the thought of getting up for the day and could not stop crying.

"I was suffering a nervous breakdown.

I believe I had been slowly experiencing a nervous breakdown for some time."

On August 26, 2006, Mrs Keylock visited her GP, who her prescribed anti-depressants and declared her unfit to work.

She said her employment with South Wales Police left her suffering depression, sleeping difficulties and panic attacks, which made it difficult to find a new job. She now works as a carer.

In cross-examination, Simon John, representing South Wales Police, forced Mrs Keylock to admit an inconsistency with her statement.

Mrs Keylock's statement claimed she had no training to use a computer system called QLX, which was required as partof her work. But Mr John forced her to concede that she had undergone a half-day of training.

Mr John said the sentence in the statement was "clearly misleading" and asked Mrs Keylock why she had included it.

"Is it because you want to make it sound worse than it was?" he asked.

Mrs Keylock denied she was exaggerating and added: "It's not as if I'd forgotten about a week's training - it was half a day."

Mr John also said Mrs Keylock had been given two half-day training sessions by Mr Collins, which she said she could not recall.

The tribunal continues.

katie.norman@mediawales.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

'FELT SUICIDAL': Civilian police worker Susan Keylock leaving the industrial tribunal in Cardiff yesterday PICTURE: Peter Bolter
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
Words:462
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