1 March 2022
Derbyshire Police Federation’s secretary Kirsty Bunn has given members an insight into the most recent national Federation Women’s Network meeting, with sexual harassment in the workplace being high up on the agenda.
Kirsty, who represents the branch at the bi-yearly meetings, says that a huge part of February’s itinerary focussed on making sexual harassment a less taboo subject throughout the service.
The group, which is made up of female and male Federation members from across the country, is wanting to make the topic of sexual harassment more accepted while encouraging those within policing to talk about it more openly.
“Although sexual harassment is not something I have seen or witnessed personally, survey results say it’s happening,” says Kirsty, “And we have to acknowledge that it is taking place if we want to influence and stop it going forward.”
Kirsty believes that the world needs to change its attitude towards sexual harassment. She said: “I welcome these changes. Better still, it’s great to give people a voice to challenge something, if they don’t agree with it – and that’s what this is all about, giving our members a voice. It is difficult to challenge, it’s a brave step but members will always have the support of the Federation to assist them.”
The group was established to support women across Federations, countrywide, and discuss issues that directly impact female officers.
“Women need to be supported in the workplace,” said Kirsty, who has been in the Force for 20 years and a Federation representative for the past 12.
“This network gives women that voice, which is really important. I’m hoping we continue to challenge these taboo subjects more and educate members on what’s acceptable and what’s not.”
Another topic discussed during the meeting was creating body armour that is specifically designed for female police officers.
“Police uniform trousers have been the bane of my life since I started out as a Federation rep,” explained Kirsty.
She added: “The sizes just aren’t great for women, the standard issue ones are uncomfortable which has an effect on officers performing their role. Finally, they’re beginning to identify there is a difference between the body armour needed for male and female officers – and the need for comfortable clothing for women.”