Reviewing The Foundation Degree Police Studies Criminology Essay

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'The police are widely held to be by far the most visible of all criminal justice institutions' (Goldsmith, j, a 2010) this shows how important the police force is they are not hidden away but in the forefront of the public, they are expected to act professionally and respond to emergencies quickly this expectation has led to the service constantly changing and trying to improve their service. In 181 years the world has completely changed we now have TV'S, computers and cars to name a few this continuous improvement in technology has ,meant that the police have also needed to improve their technology for example the whistle to the radio. One of the biggest changes made in Britain was the increasing involvement that women wanted in the world including involvement in the police. For this assignment this is what i will focus on.

The metropolitan police force itself started in 1829, the public expectation was that police officers must be a pillar of the community and catch criminals whatever their size or age so the officers were required to be at least 5ft 7in, have a good temper and be under 35 years of age. They would work 7 days a week with no rest and only get paid the same as a farm labourer, these requirement practically eliminated women from the force and not only that but women were generally regarded as home makers, they stayed at home with the children while there husband went out to work in fact the very idea of 'women officers appears to have been met with both incredulity and hostility wherever the suggestions were first made' (Mawby 1999) Women did however help the police quite regularly, many of the wife's of officers were ask to come to the station and deal with female offenders, they had no powers and did not go on the beat they simply were used to search, supervise and escort women and children in custody. "These women were often called "matrons", this became popular and in 1889 when 14 women were employed by the metropolitan police to deal with women" (Dell 2010)

In 1897 the culture and views of how women were seen started to change, they started the union of women workers to show that women were not simply just capable of working at a desk but women who signed up would usually work voluntarily and deal with the social sector however this was very low key and was hardly recognised as although some views on women may have altered the main stream community view that women were weaker than men still remained. From 1901-1914 Britain came under attack in what we call the First World War, many of the officers were called into duty and so this left a huge lack of officers in the area with this and "khaki fever something had to be done. Khaki fever describes the excitement that young girls and women were believed to experience at the presence of soldiers as a wave of patriotism swept across the nation". ( Although this 'fever' eventually came to an end there were still major concerns about the passing of sexual transmitted diseases .There was still a distinct lack of officers patrolling the area this led to the women's patrols being able to operate.

These patrols showed a huge movement in the communities views on what women could do, Sir Edward Henry (chief commissioner of the metropolitan police) further enhanced these views by signing their passes, authorising them to patrol streets and public places. The passes were also endorsed by Mr. McKenna (the Home Secretary) the public expectation however still remained; a police officer still had to combat crime whether male or female.

Many of the attitudes of people in respect to women still remained an example of the is Sir Edward Ward he told Nina Boyle, a women in the community who wanted to change the views of people that even though it would make sense for women to replace the men as special constables during the war that women simply were not suitable to do a man's work.

Margaret Damer Dawson also wanted to be able to recruit, train and allow women to patrols the streets in uniform after a meeting she managed to pursued Sir Edward Henry, the Chief Commissioner of The Metropolitan Police to allow this to happen as it made perfect sense in the response to losing many officers in the war and they would work for free. From there the women police volunteers (WPV) were set up, they were a complete separate entity to the patrols. They also aimed to combat the problem of STIs by informing people about the consequences of infidelity. Once she heard of Nina's ideas she made her deputy. They planned to do well why the men where away in the hope that the public's view on what women could do for the police service changed and the police would keep them on.

In 1915 they changed the name to Women's police service rather than volunteers in an attempt to change British culture and show they were the same as the male service, anyone who joined would be given a uniform and made to follow strict rules, this allowed them again to become more in line with the male service this action led to Sir Edward giving them i.d cards and the power to patrol the streets, this in turn made the metropolitan police take notice they started to allow women to become sergeants and inspectors however although this shows how the communities views can change and help develop the force they still did not take on the same duties as men, they were still used in relation to women offenders as although small communities may change their view the overall public expectation remained the same.

1915 shows one of the biggest ways in which public expectation, culture and the community changed the police force. In Grantham "Mrs Edith Smith was recognised as the first proper policewoman in Britain with full powers of arrest" (, following all her good work the bishop of Grantham called for a national women's service. In December a meeting was held and it was agreed that "Women Police be appointed, one Constable on 30/- a week and an Inspector on 42/- a week, with the intention of dealing with the prostitutes who flocked to the south east attracted by the large concentration of troops awaiting embarkation for the Western Front" (Dell 2010)

Another key women was Dorothy Olivia Georgiana Peto who first wanted be become a successful author but was unsuccessful in her conquest and instead joined the women patrols she was quickly recognised for her good work and eventually became the director of the patrols training schools in 1918. In 1919 however the schools closed but this did not deter her instead as some stations were employing women she tried to become an officer she was once again unsuccessful. In 1920 however she became a female enquirer officer in Birmingham after the death of her father she resigned from this post and eventually finally became the first women superintendent in the metropolitan police from 1930-1946 when she retired. She brought so much awareness to the people of Britain of how women could equally do the job the amount of women in the police rose from 55 to over 200.

After all of this the WPS still found it hard to be recognised as a complete service in itsself however in 1916 they were asked to patrol the munition factories they recieved a wage from the goverment to cover all of their cost the womens patrols also recieved some money however less that than wps, both amounts though were substantial as both organisations were originally self sufficient. At the time both organisations were training their officers in different places this soon changed and they joined forces meaning women officers could train in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow. They became called the federated schools for police women and patrols Carnegie U.K. Trust gave the schools £1,000 followed by £250 in 1919-20.

The Ministry of Munitions Women Police Service (MMWPS) decided to train and equip a group of women police to patrol the factories "The first agreement signed between the Women Police Service and the Ministry of Munitions was on July 7 1916 was called the Queens Ferry Agreement. The second agreement was signed and dated October 31 1916 called the Gretna Agreement. Other agreements soon followed to police other munitions factories". (Dell)

In 1918 London got its own women's force with 100 officers from the women's patrols. Sir Nevil Macready appointed Mrs Stanley of the Wonen's Patrols as Superintendent of the Metropolitan Women Police Patrols and she immediately appointed 25 other women they still had no powers of arrest but did take orders from new Scotland yard itself however successful this was not all forces agreed out of the '126 women who were employed only 33 were appointed with the same powers of men' (dell 2010)

There was still no committee dealing with issues within the women's patrols such as pay and powers this changed however in 1920 when "Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan recommended :

(1) That all policewomen should be sworn in, given full powers of arrest and ranked with the male police, forming an integral part of the police force and being trained and appointed by the chief constables.

(2) That their pay should be standardized and approximated to that of the men (60s. minimum as compared with the men's 70s.), and that their allowances should be the same.

(3) That their hours should be seven daily.

(4) That marriage should be no bar to service.

(5) That their pensions should be granted on a scale slightly lower than for men, but that gratuities for dependent children should be the same for both sexes." (dell 2010)

These recommendations were not really taken seriously by the male force in fact the only one that got considered was the pay, which did get standardised. This shows that women still were not accepted as the same they were still unable to arrest which is a vital element of an officer rather than how much you get paid so the male officers could arrest and so gain the respect of the public rather than the women.

Women were again penalised in the respect to their uniform under section 10 of the police act 1919 wearing a police uniform when not authorised to was a criminal offence members of the women patrols were fined for such an offence as there uniform was to similar to that of the women's metropolitan police which shows that perhaps they were only set up to keep the peace rather than the fact they were seen as equal as they did not wish for many women to be seen in the uniform. This led them to desperately needing a uniform, after an investigation the women's police service had to change their name to the women's auxiliary service and added red flashes to their uniform.

With sheer determinination and hope to change people views women although not wholley acceted kept on and in 1968 another radicle change was enforced, Sislin Fay Allen. The first black officer. The women's service itself became fullyintergrated to the metropolitan police in 1973, from 1973-75 women tended to still deal with women and children only but as views and attitudes started to change in 1975 'following the introduction of the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, the role of women in the police service was redefined' (dell 2010)

From then on it was wasier for women to join and be treated fairly but even today there is still a slight gender issue, in 2007 in the hope of addressing equality even more in the force, the gender equality act came into force, however the results are varied in so far as the rank in which women are have increased but are not wholly that great 'for example, 27% of constables are women while only 11% of superintendants, this stands poorly with the prison service where 23% of governor grades are women and the CPS where 38% of Chief crown prosecutors are women' (Thornton,S 2010) this clearly shows that women do not get to progress through the ranks as easily as men.

One of the biggest cases to show how women have progressed is the case of Alison Halford, she wrote an article in the Police Review complaining that projects she started were often handed over to male colleagues to complete. 'There appears to be a strong but covert resentment of the competence of a woman who can get to the heart of a problem, shows creativity and innovation, and manages to acquire a reputation for getting things done,'(

She was denied nine promotions but finally made a formal complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission in June 1990, she was highly backed by the Equal Opportunities committee and the media who reported a substantial amount her case in 1992 led to other women standing up and admitting that they had encountered similar experiences showing a massive change in the culture of britain.

All of these movements show just how culture, the community and public expectation not only shaped the history of the British police force but all three combine together in doing so. The public expectaion of the police still remains the same, people want the police to catch and prosecute criminals whether the officer is male or female however old culture would say that a womens job would be to say at home and care for the home and children, this is changed by the community whose views can gradually change over time by inspirarional people such as Mrs Edith Smith who showed people just how women could work the same as men. This then in turn changes the culture of Britain to what we have today; women in the police force are equal to men.


Dell, S., 2010 unpublished draft manuscript

History of the Metropolitan Police: Women Police[online] available at [21/09/10]

International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice: The women police, 2009 [online] at [21/09/10]

Goldsmith,j,a.,2010,policing new visibility, the British journal of criminology, volume 50, number 5

Thornton,s.,2009.engendering justice for women?.policing today. Volume 15,issue 3,15-17

Mawby,r.,1999,policing across the world,issues for the 21st century,UCL press, London

Leishman,s., loveday,b.,savage,s.2000.core issues in policing.2nd ed.essex: Pearson education limited.

Retirement marks end of two-year 'nightmare': Alison Halford's decision to retire ends a bitter and degrading dispute. Steve Boggan reports,1992[online]available at