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Norfolk Police Federation

#BreakTheBias: Sam Hawkins, Secretary of Norfolk Police Federation, reflects on #InternationalWomensDay

8 March 2022

#BreakTheBias

Sam Hawkins, Secretary of Norfolk Police Federation, reflects on #InternationalWomensDay

‘Rottweiler, man hater, difficult, aggressive’ – just a few of the names I have been called in my 32 years of service. I have lost count of the number of times I have picked up the phone in the Duty Inspector’s office to be greeted with surprise that a woman had answered before the caller asks to speak to the Inspector. I still receive emails addressing me as ‘Sir’, assuming that Inspector Sam Hawkins is a man.

My experiences as a female officer in a male dominated environment are a huge part of why I became a Fed Rep. Looking back, it’s great to see that policing’s inclusion, integration and value of women has improved – but there is more to do.

As part of the PFEW Women’s Group and as a branch secretary, I am passionate about breaking the bias. In my view, raising awareness so that we can first all acknowledge our biases is key. We all do it sometimes, but self-awareness and empowering our colleagues to challenge us when we do, will help hugely.

It is easy to say ‘equality’, but it’s so much harder to demonstrate it. But I am confident we can all play our part to do it.