90 days from today is Wed, 23 October 2024

Hertfordshire Police Federation

We need more women in frontline roles

23 January 2023

Harrison and Euan

Handing out treats at Christmas.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year and managed to take some time off to rest and relax at what is always a busy time of year for us. I managed to pop in on Christmas Day with my two children, Harrison and Euan, both managed to say thank you to those working and offer out some treats.

Hopefully 2023 will be the year that we make a real breakthrough in getting more female officers into frontline supervisory roles which is something we have been pushing for and the Force is also very keen on.

As things stand, we have a very small number of females in supervisor roles within our response teams and on our CSPs. This has been something we have been in discussion with the Force for the last six months and one of our objectives in 2023 is to ensure we have a greater number of females on the frontline.

We have raised this with the Force and really challenged them to try to increase that number because it is vitally important that frontline has a fairer representation and I think this is where some of the issues we’ve heard about recently come from.

People perhaps don’t always feel confident in challenging poor behaviour in a heavily male-dominated situation but if there was a better representation on the frontline of female supervisors then I think any inappropriate behaviour would be knocked out.

We are challenging the Force over the next 12 months to make frontline policing more attractive to women.

No one’s suggesting that is going to be easy or straightforward. There’s no getting away from the fact that 83 per cent of women are the primary carer in their family while men are seen in the traditional role of breadwinner with their job taking precedence.

So we have got to make sure we can be more flexible in adapting shift patterns to their needs to make these important roles more accessible to them.

Luckily there is a desire from the Force to deliver upon that even if it means a change in working practices or a change in the structure in terms of what we do.

We are also very lucky in that we get a lot of women applying to join the Force and that is really encouraging. When I go and meet all the new recruits there is a great balance between males and females - not like when I started out and you’d be lucky if there were one or two women out of a class of 30.

But what is really important is that when these young officers arrive in their districts, they see females in a supervisory capacity.

We have a lot of female supervisors in safeguarding and a lot of female supervisors at headquarters but when it comes down to local policing we don’t see a fair representation of female supervisors and that is something we really want to do and there has never been a better time than now for us to really push that through.

I am really pleased that Hertfordshire Police is keen to make this a priority and I think forces across the country are beginning to realise there is a lot of work to do in this area, particularly with growing concerns about misogyny within policing and accusations that the service is institutionally sexist.

It’s worth reminding members that the Police Federation fully supports the Call It Out Campaign and we would fully support any officer with any issues or concerns.

Our door is always open and we are here to offer help, advice and guidance so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.