This week Surrey Police ladies will turn in 70 years service to the County and beyond. It’s a great milestone and one that deserves to be recognised and recorded. I am aware of a lot of enthusiasm among retired and serving officers for this anniversary so much so a larger venue has been organised.
An event will be held at Surrey’s HQ, (Mount Browne, Sandy Lane, Guildford) for all who can attend and there are three guest speakers planned: Chief Constable Lynne Owens, Rose Murray and Dr Helen Bowcock, the outgoing High Sheriff of Surrey.
I cannot imagine what it was like for the pioneering women who first joined Surrey Constabulary: Just looking back at the changes I have observed is a mind-boggling experience.
Where I worked in the mid-80’s there would probably be one WPC to ten male colleagues. Now that ratio is much smaller. And rightly so.
I can remember parading a team on at Leigh (GMP) where I had a female Sergeant and 5 female constables along with just one lad so I asked him ironically “How does it feel to be the token blok?” How amused were we at this amazing female takeover of the team? I hope most of you will be scratching your heads and going “why did that matter?” as today I often parade-on more girls than boys.
Then it was a singularity, novel and worthy of crass comment.
Today colleagues who are female are represented everywhere across the service. The best police officer I ever worked for was female (Mary Vaisney – if you wish to know). It’s good to recognise this achievement and both the task completed and the task ahead.
So good luck ladies from Surrey Constabulary and Surrey Police, I hope the more mature will pass on their stories of bravery, boredom, laughs and tears covering the whole 70 years – and trust someone will record them so we can start to understand the challenges, the personal cost and triumphs of the service provided by these exceptional ladies.