Girl power group for Suffolk police

FEMALE police staff and officers are celebrating today after Suffolk police created an association exclusively for women in policing.

FEMALE police staff and officers are celebrating today after Suffolk police created an association exclusively for women in policing.

The Suffolk Association of Women in Policing (SAWP) has been formed to provide advice and guidance to women working for the constabulary, and will give officers and police staff somewhere to go for support.

Superintendent Liz Pettman, who has helped create the association, said: “It will be able to provide advice to women and we also hope it will provide the organisation with female support on certain issues.

“Quite often with policy making there will not be a woman there to give a female perspective.

“We hope the force will approach us to give our views.”

Supt Pettman said women were well represented in the force - making up 28 per cent of police officers in Suffolk compared to the national average of 21pc.

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However, she said there was still a lack of women in senior roles and within certain areas of the force.

She said: “I think, perhaps in terms of promotion, there are not the role models because there are not that many women in senior positions.

“Women still don't remain in the force as long as men do although that is starting to change with part time and more flexible working.

“That has an impact on the ability for promotion and progress.”

She said women also remain under-represented in areas such as road policing, fire arms and dog handling.

SAWP will look to address these issues and help enhance the understanding of the needs of women within the constabulary.

A special conference will be held to mark the launch of the association on Monday at the force's Martlesham headquarters.

Julie Spence, chief constable of Cambridgeshire and president of the British Association of Women in Policing, will speak about her own career experience. Male and female police staff will be able to attend the conference.

Supt Pettman said it had taken a year to set up the association after police staff had approached her about the issue when she was promoted to superintendent.

It is the 29th association of women in policing to be set up and of the 43 forces in England and Wales.

Weblink:

www.bawp.org.

Do you support the association? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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