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Worker accuses police managers of bullying her.

Byline: Katie Norman

MANAGERS at a Welsh police force were yesterday accused of reducing an employee to tears and suicidal feelings after persistent bullying and harassment.

Susan Keylock of Hillsboro Place, Porthcawl, accused her former superiors at South Wales Police of intimidating her and failing to provide adequate training when changes to her duties were imposed.

At a tribunal at Caradog House, Cardiff, Mrs Keylock claimed the constant harassment and systematic bullying had destroyed her confidence and left her in a state of nervous breakdown, which amounted to constructive dismissal.

The hearing heard that problems began when Mrs Keylock was appointed as a budget officer against her wishes, after working in administration for South Wales Police for more than 25 years.

Following the imposed changes to her role, Mrs Keylock claimed the managers failed to provide adequate training and reduced her to tears by pointing out her failings.

Things came to ahead when Mrs Keylock was on annual leave. She said: "I spent my whole week's annual leave in bed.

"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.

"Now I was in total meltdown and could take no more."

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

Describing her employers, 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 last two years."

Citing an instance where she felt offended by her bosses, Mrs Keylock referred to a conversation with her former line manager Sian Griffiths.

After asking what was bothering Mrs Keylock, Ms Griffiths allegedly suggested, "Is it your hormones?" before querying whether her "age" or "ex-husband" were the matter.

Mrs Keylock spoke of another occasion when she was reduced to tears in front of her general manager Ryan Collins, after he had reportedly intimidated her by questioning her performance in front of colleagues.

"I felt mentally battered and bruised," she said.

"He had taken every ounce of self-esteem I had left and crushed me with his comments and attitude.

And in front of my colleagues."

She said her employers had left her suffering from depression, sleeping difficulties and panic attacks, which had made it difficult to find a new job. She has now managed to find work as a carer.

Mrs Keylock was cross examined by Simon John, representing South Wales Police, who appeared to highlight an inconsistency with her statement.

Mrs Keylock had claimed she had no training to use a computer system called QLX, which was required as part of her work. But she conceded she had undergone a half-day's training.

Mr John said: "Your statement said you had no experience. If that's wrong, why did you put it in?"

Mr John said the sentence was "clearly misleading" and asked 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 trying to exaggerate 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.

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IN TEARS: Susan Keylock was allegedly left with suicidal feelings after bullying from her managers ataWelsh police force PICTURE: Peter Bolter
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
Words:610
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