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Hard working Inspector wins Services to Women in Policing Award

6 December 2023

A Surrey Police officer who has helped countless colleagues return to policing after they have had children has won the Services to Women in Policing Award at the inaugural Surrey Police Federation Recognition Awards.

Insp Lyndsey Whatley, borough commander for Tandridge, has worked for Surrey Police for 15 years. She is instrumental in the force’s Parenting Support Group, after having two children herself and realising that there were challenges in returning to policing after maternity leave.   

The Parenting Support Group runs Keeping In Touch (KIT) days for officers and staff on parental leave. Insp Whatley said: “We have a soft play, Federation Reps, HR and other people to offer support to officers and staff who are away from work on parental leave. It’s about making sure we’ve got the support available and helping people with what can and can’t be accommodated.” 

Insp Whatley is also the Surrey Lead for BreastBuddies, a breastfeeding support group that is an offshoot of the National Breastfeeding Network. She said: “On one of our KIT days, I got a lot of questions from mothers who were looking to return while breastfeeding, and I realised that our policy and procedure was pretty much non-existent. So I have written a risk assessment for the force that is dedicated for breastfeeding mothers.  

“We’ve also done an audit of all the rooms we’ve got in force that are available for people to breastfeed in and we’ve increased the facilities available, making sure that we hit minimum requirements such as fridges and comfy chairs and locks on doors and non-see-through windows. The things that probably should have been there anyway, but it’s one of those untalked-about things.” 

Insp Whatley continued: “I got three promotions while on maternity leave, and I had a few challenges along the way. I came back on promotion as a flexi-working duty Inspector, which was a little bit unusual at the time. I think the force has changed quite a lot over recent years in terms of openness, not just around parenting, but also caring responsibilities. I think we’ve got far better, but there are always more improvements we can make.  

“For instance, there are a lot of questions about uniform fitting, so it’s just around making sure that we’ve got support and guidance out there. We’ve also gone round all the senior management teams across Surrey Police and made sure they can signpost people to the right place if they need help.” 

She said she didn’t expect to win the award, adding: “There is a core group of us who are the driving force behind everything the Parenting Support Group does – it’s very much a team effort.” 

Surrey Police Federation Chair Darren Pemble said: “Lyndsey works tirelessly to support colleagues who are returning to work after having children, and she also provides invaluable information to line managers managing officers who are pregnant or on maternity leave.  

“She balances this with a day job as well don’t forget and her own family responsibilities.   

“She is a key figure in helping Surrey Police become a family-friendly employer.” 

Insp Whatley will attend the Surrey Police Federation Recognition Awards on Thursday 7 December. 

The lead sponsor for the Awards is Metfriendly. 

Also sponsoring are the National Police Healthcare Scheme, MJR Solicitors, Flint House Rehabilitation, Serve and Protect Credit Union, Police Mutual, No1 Copperpot Credit Union, Philip Williams Insurance, Hempsons, Uniform Mortgages, Police Mortgages, Reynolds Dawson, the Surrey PCC’s Office and DAC Beachcroft.   

The hashtag for the event is #SurreyFedBravery.