Former policewoman sues for unfair dismissal for taking a backpack from a drunken woman

Former policewoman sues for unfair dismissal for taking a backpack from a drunken woman

A former policewoman is suing Scotland Yard for unfair dismissal for being sacked for taking a backpack from a drunken woman.

Sandra Dunbabin, 56, was dismissed by the force after being caught on CCTV taking the contents of a locked and unattended bag as it lay on the floor outside a pub in Miskin, Liverpool.

The woman had fallen into the back of Dunbabin's patrol car while waiting to hand in her drink and the former colleague, who worked in the youth club section of Merseyside Police, accepted there was nothing in the bag she could claim as property.

She was dismissed for gross misconduct in October 2012 after Scotland Yard reviewed footage from CCTV cameras in Miskin and reviewed evidence supporting her claim that the woman's bag contained nothing worth keeping.

Mother-of-three Sandra Dunbabin was sacked after being caught on CCTV taking a backpack from a drunken woman in Liverpool

A hearing at Liverpool Civil Justice Centre heard evidence from former head of internal affairs at Merseyside Police, Keith Lockhart, who is a partner at Lockhart Ross, Solicitors, who specialises in employment and employment rights.

Mr Lockhart said: 'I had occasion to view the CCTV footage of the event.

'Ms Dunbabin seen on the CCTV taking the bag off the woman's shoulder and as she removed it from a shopping bag being held by another officer in the patrol car I can only describe it as she clearly had her hands behind her back.

'Ms Dunbabin took the bag from the back of the car and was very reasonably seen to open the bag with her left hand as she closed the door.

'I saw the woman fall back into the back of the police car whilst Ms Dunbabin was carrying the bag off the lady's shoulder.

'No body had broken anything. The woman did not know who took the bag, apart from Ms Dunbabin.'

Lockhart also stated there was 'significant media coverage of the incident' in November 2012 and it led to a review of disciplinary matters relating to Ms Dunbabin which concluded that her employment was no longer meritorious.

On Monday, the hearing was told Miss Dunbabin would claim for unfair dismissal based on comments that she was 'missing links' between Merseyside Police and the force in London, the Liverpool Echo reported.

The force in London responded to the allegation and said that there was no 'connection' between Merseyside Police and the Metropolitan Police.

They added: 'Due to the nature of disciplinary proceedings, the Metropolitan Police Service cannot comment on the allegations without an order from the Employment Tribunal.'

The hearing is expected to continue until next week.

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