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Still long way to go for gender equality, says Met chief

UK News | Published:

Current figures show that only 27% of officers in Britain’s largest force are women.

Metropolitan Police boss Cressida Dick has paid tribute to the first women police officers in the force, but acknowledged they still have a “long way to go” to achieve gender equality.

Thousands of serving and retired officers and staff gathered at Westminster Abbey for a special service on Friday, marking 100 years of women police officers in the Met.

Current figures show that only 27% of officers in Britain’s largest force are women.

“Those women, as they say, upon whose shoulders we stand.

“The current generation, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”

Vintage police cars were taken to the Westminster Abbey service
Vintage police cars were taken to the Westminster Abbey service (Emma Bowden/PA)

On how the profession has changed for women, Ms Dick said: “It’s changed hugely, I’ve been a police officer since 1983 and there are so many more women.

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Women police officers on Clive Steps in Westminster, 1919
Women police officers on Clive Steps in Westminster, 1919 (Mary Evans/Metropolitan Police/PA)

“When I joined, it tended to be one on this team, one on that team, and certain things weren’t open to women at all.

“I loved it then and I love it now but it is utterly different.”

Asked about if she considers herself a role model, Ms Dick said: “If people do look at somebody like me and think, ‘well, if she can do it, I can do it, I feel a bit different and she looks a bit different, so I might have a go’ – that’s brilliant, that’s great.”

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Ms Dick spearheaded a campaign at the end of last year to encourage more women to join the force and end male domination in senior ranks.

The campaign, Strong, is its first recruitment drive targeting women, aiming to tackle the known barriers for women and challenge gender stereotypes.

Female officers on their first parade in London in 1919
Female officers on their first parade in London in 1919 (Mary Evans/Metropolitan Police/PA)

“We’ve got a long way to go, we’re working really hard to inspire women to join us in a variety of different ways.

“But also to make the workplace an even better place for men and women to be.”

The thanksgiving event at Westminster Abbey marked a service that took place a century ago, for officers who had lost their lives in the Great War, which was the first time a group of female officers appeared in uniform.

Earlier on Friday, 12 serving officers recreated one the earliest photos taken of women in the Met police from 1919.

Wearing replica uniforms designed by the head seamstress of the Met’s uniform section, they posed on Westminster’s Clive Steps to mirror the original image.

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