More female police officers recruited in Hertfordshire

Campaigners say a rise in female officers will help lead to public confidence in policing

Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:37 pm

More women are being recruited as police officers in Hertfordshire, figures reveal, as male domination in the ranks continues to subside.

While the Government says there is more work to be done to make forces representative, campaigners say a rise in female officers will help lead to public confidence in policing.

Home Office data shows Hertfordshire Police took on 226 new officers in 2020-21, including 88 who were women (39 per cent).

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The female recruits will go a little way toward balancing the gender ranks among the force's police officers.

Separate Home Office figures show 34 per cent of officers in Hertfordshire were women in March last year, up from 33 per cent four years before.

Superintendent Ruth Dodsworth, from Hertfordshire Constabulary workforce development, said: “As a police force, Hertfordshire Constabulary wants our workforce to reflect the communities we serve and protect.

"We are particularly reaching out to our diverse communities and under-represented groups, including women, to join us and make a real difference to their local community.”

She added: “Having served more than 20 years as a police officer in the county, I’d highly recommend Hertfordshire Constabulary to anyone.”

Hertfordshire is the first police force in the region to offer the fully-funded degree apprenticeship or graduate diploma scheme under the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF).

If you’re interested in becoming a police officer, Hertfordshire is recruiting now, visit Hertfordshire Police Officer jobs on the force's website for more information.

Through the ‘Positive Action’ scheme, Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to building relationships with under-represented groups and encouraging them to join our policing family.

Hertfordshire Police has a dedicated Women’s Network which seeks to improve the working environment of female personnel with a view to enhancing the quality of service to the public.

Across the 43 police forces in England and Wales that proportion rose to 32 per cent last year from 30 per cent in 2016.

The Home Office said it had used targeted advertising and provided support to candidates in a bid to attract more women for police officer roles.

A spokesperson said: "It is excellent that more women are deciding to go into this inspiring career, and that more women are also represented at senior roles in police forces.

“We are aware, however, there is more work to be done which is why the Government continues to work closely with police forces to ensure their workforces are representative, in terms of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds.”

Women's Aid, a charity supporting female victims of violence, said it was pleased with the rise in female officer numbers, adding the death of Sarah Everard and subsequent charging of a serving male police officer with her murder had damaged confidence in policing.

Farah Nazeer, chief executive, said: "Women make up half the population and therefore it is good to see the police working towards this level of representation."

She added: "After such a tragic event [the death of Sarah Everard], public confidence in policing drops and so the increase in female officers is one way to get that confidence back.

"The power of the police depends on public approval for its existence, actions and behaviour. If police forces are not representative, public approval will lesson."

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, also welcomed the influx of new policing recruits.

But he added: "There is much more to do to build a workforce that is truly representative of the communities we serve."

The new recruits were hired as part of a Government commitment to add 20,000 officers to forces in England and Wales by March 2023.

It achieved the first phase target of 6,000 additional police officers by March this year.

Allowing for leavers, forces added an extra 8,771 officers to their ranks through the programme, which started in October 2019, including 155 at Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The force, which now has 2,232 police officers, has been set the target of recruiting an additional 90 by the end of March next year.