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This year we’re celebrating a century of women Metropolitan Police Officers with commemorative events and by delving into our archives to bring their inspiring stories to life. We want to encourage a new generation of women to choose what is a challenging but brilliant career path.
In the Autumn of 1918, the Met was itself in its 90th year when the Home Secretary accepted Commissioner Sir Cecil Macready’s proposal to form a department of women police officers under the supervision of Superintendent Sofia Stanley. The Metropolitan Police Women Patrols comprised just 21 of these pioneering women when they first hit the streets in May 1919 but they quickly grew to be over a 100-strong.
The patrols’ duties were, by modern standards, very limited - they had no power of arrest and their pay was lower than male officers. Incredibly, it was not until 1986 that women officers were issued with truncheons and even then these were handbag-size. Nevertheless, over the decades women have shown their strength by breaking moulds and challenging stereotypes.
Today nearly 8,000 women officers occupy a huge range of influential and important jobs across the organisation. All operational policing roles are open to women whether that’s running armed operations, supervising surveillance teams, carrying firearms or supporting victims of crime and abuse. The appointment of Commissioner Cressida Dick in 2017 showed there truly are no limits.
The many examples of how strong women have helped keep London safe over the past century are powerful indeed, but they are not the end of the story. We are actively seeking more strong women to join the Met right now. Could you follow in the footsteps of Sofia Stanley and use your strengths to start writing the next pages of this important history?
Read the stories of the incredible women policing London.
Find out more about careers in the Met and apply.