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Slater and Gordon Celebrate 100 Years of Women in the Police Force

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are proud to support ongoing celebrations of 100 years of women in the police force.

Lawyers from Slater and Gordon’s Manchester office attended the North West Regional Forces conference yesterday along with over 160 police officers from forces around North West England, North Wales and Northern Ireland.

The conference at Sedgley Park Police Training Centre in Prestwich, Manchester was compared by Good Morning Britain presenter John Stapleton and saw a number of key speakers celebrate the historic event. The morning session included an inspiring speech by Humberside Police Chief Constable Justine Curran who, in 2013, became the first woman to lead the force.

Bryn Hughes also spoke at the conference. Bryn is the father of PC Nicola Hughes who was murdered in 2012 along with her colleague PC Fiona Bone whilst responding to a 999 call. Bryn has since established the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund which aims to support young people who have lost a close family member through violent crime. Conference attendees gathered for a minute’s silence was held at 11am in memory of all female police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Police forces around the country are celebrating 100 years of women in policing. In 1915, Edith Smith was sworn in as a police officer in Lincolnshire and, three years later, the Metropolitan Police directly recruited policewomen for the first time. These women were uniformed officers but ‘unsworn’ and it wasn’t until 1921 until Clara Walkden of Oldham Borough Police became the first known ‘sworn-in’ Police Woman Constable.

This didn’t kick-start a trend, unfortunately, as women in the police continued to face discrimination for some time. Twenty years after Clara Walkden’s appointment, the then-Home Secretary Sir John Anderson considered police duty to be a “man’s job” and suggested that “such work as driving cars, typewriting and attending the telephone” were more suitable duties for women serving in the police force.

Thankfully, the end of the Second World War saw a steady rise in women joining the police service as female constables and, in 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act abolished separate policewomen’s departments and opened up equal pay and career opportunities to women.

20 years later, in 1995, Pauline Clare QPM became the first female Chief Constable at Lancashire Constabulary. Today, there are over 35,000 female polices officers serving across the 43 police forces of England and Wales.

Slater and Gordon are proud to support 100 years of women in policing and it was a privilege to attend the North West Regional Forces conference. Slater and Gordon sold commemorative pin badges at the event in support of the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have provided expert legal services to police officers for over 50 years and work alongside the police force in helping victims of road traffic collisions.

For more information, call us on 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.

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