Vivienne Yarham

Vivienne Yarham

Sector: 
Police
How I became a Whistleblower: 

When I reported my concerns to what amounted to allegations of criminal and misconduct offences I was not taken seriously. My line managers and immediate colleagues left me feeling isolated and I was branded a troublemaker.

I was moved from my position to another department, staff did not want to associate with me in the canteen/bar area leaving me ignored and ostracised. Normal co-operation and support was withdrawn by colleagues and supervisors leaving me exposed. Locks were changed to my office where I was no longer welcome.

Those I complained about made counter allegations against me that I was not aware of until almost a year later. I was informed that colleagues would be in divided camps and that I would have to watch my back for the rest of my career.

What happened next: 

I was informed that a limited investigation had been carried out; in contradiction to their own policy, I stated that I wished to return to my post, however my colleagues were canvassed and produced written statements stating they could no longer work with me as they did not trust me. This was confirmed by email to me.

Despite written requests to the most senior manager (deputy chief constable) asking for information about the investigation, no response has ever been made, coupled with the situation that I was never spoken to about the allegations.

I was certified unfit to work due to stress and was reduced to half pay and then no pay. Under the Freedom of Information Act it was found that my immediate supervisor had stated that I 'had some sort of mental health problem' and 'was paranoid and at times unstable', nothing was done to retract these comments resulting in senior management believing this was true.

Advice was sought from the National Police Federation and an independent barrister prior to the FOI Act information and neither supported me. The final straw was the mental health revelation. Resignation followed. For constructive and unfair dismissal a supportive solicitor and barrister were engaged culminating in a five day employment tribunal case where I was the only witness against the respondent.

This was not the way I wanted to end my career, but 'doing the right thing' was the correct way to go in view of the evidence collated. However, the stress was overwhelming; colleagues that were friends were not supportive, including some who wanted me to fail. The financial burden was difficult as it had to be self-funded. Sadly the person who I complained about was subsequently dismissed from the police six years after my initial complaint for a similar allegation I had raised.

What I do now: 

I studied interior design and have since renovated a 1880s Victorian town house, a Grade 2 listed 1840s cottage and built my own house. I run a successful holiday cottage in North Norfolk.

Life does not end because you are a whistleblower, it just takes you on a new path.