Third of police chiefs are women: Record 15 forces now have a female leader as experts say they have become less like The Sweeney and more like Line of Duty
- Total of 46 forces analysed in UK with 15 found to have a female chief constable
- Police bosses and experts credited shift to crackdown on ‘sexist canteen culture’
- It follows announcement that Pippa Mills will become chief of West Mercia Police
- Debbie Tedds has also taken over as the first female boss of Warwickshire Police
A third of police chiefs are now women with a record 15 forces having a female leader, as experts say they have become less like The Sweeney and more like Line of Duty.
A total of 46 forces, including British Transport Police, were analysed in the UK with 15 found to have a female chief constable – a steep rise from just four forces in 2019.
The figure is also the highest since records began in 1995, when Pauline Clare brought an end to 166 years of male leadership by becoming the first ever female boss of a force – namely Lancashire Constabulary – in Britain.
Police chiefs and experts told The Daily Telegraph that they credited the rise to a crackdown on the ‘sexist canteen culture’ seen on TV series such as The Sweeney and Life on Mars – crime dramas set in the 1970s with males predominantly cast as the detectives or officers leading investigations.
It follows the announcement that Pippa Mills will be promoted from deputy chief constable in Essex to chief of West Mercia Police, alongside Debbie Tedds taking over as the first female boss of Warwickshire Police.
Pippa Mills (pictured above) has been announced as the chief constable of West Mercia Police, after working as a deputy chief constable in Essex
Warwickshire’s incoming first ever female chief constable, Debbie Tedds, pictured alongside Warwickshire police and crime commissioner Philip Seccombe
Rick Muir, director of the Police Foundation, an independent research body, said: ‘There is not the macho sexist canteen culture that there was.
Who are the UK’s 15 female police chiefs?
- British Transport Police: Lucy D’Orsi
- Cumbria Constabulary: Michelle Skeer
- Derbyshire Constabulary: Rachel Swann
- Durham Constabulary: Jo Farrell
- Dyfed-Powys Police: Claire Parmenter
- Gwent Police: Pam Kelly
- Hampshire Constabulary: Olivia Pinkney
- Merseyside Police: Serena Kennedy
- Met Police: Dame Cressida Dick
- North Yorkshire Police: Lisa Winward
- South Yorkshire Police: Lauren Poultney
- Staffordshire Police: Jane Sawyers
- Sussex Police: Jo Shiner
- Warwickshire Police: Debbie Tedds
- West Mercia Police: Pippa Mills (incoming)
‘And as policing has changed, the representation of female characters has shifted so you have female officers or detectives leading investigations like Line of Duty.’
In addition to the 15 chiefs who are women, there are also two female assistant commissioners at the Metropolitan Police, which is led by the force’s commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
Some 20,000 officers will be recruited in England and Wales by 2023 and the Met Police alone wants to bring 11,000 more employees into various job roles between now and 2025.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse praised the shift and said the Government is continuing to work with the police to improve diversity while it seeks to hire 20,000 more officers.
A total of 32.1 per cent – almost a third – of all constables in the UK are female with seven forces taking on more women than men over the past year, according to the newspaper’s analysis.
But Durham Constabulary’s Chief, Jo Farrell, said police still have progress to make.
She said: ‘Ultimately, we are working towards the day when our communities are policed by a constabulary which reflects them.’
It comes after Rachel Swann, who is the first female chief of Derbyshire Constabulary, faced sexist and homophobic abuse about her hairstyle.
She was mocked by cruel TV viewers who threw jibes at her spiked, dyed hairstyle on social media while she was at the centre of the Whaley Bridge evacuation in 2019.
Following a confirmation hearing by Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Panel last year, Chief Constable Swann was handed the top job and dubbed an ‘outstanding strategic leader’ with a ‘refreshing and positive approach’.
The analysis comes after Rachel Swann (pictured above), the first female chief of Derbyshire Constabulary, faced sexist and homophobic abuse about her hairstyle
British Transport Police chief Lucy D’Orsi (pictured left) and Cumbria Constabulary boss Michelle Skeer (right)
Durham Constabulary chief Jo Farrell (pictured left) and Dyfed-Powys Police boss Claire Parmenter (right)
Gwent Police chief Pam Kelly (pictured left) and Hampshire Constabulary boss Olivia Pinkney (right)
Chief Constable Swann said some of the abuse she received about her looks at the time was ‘misogynistic and homophobic’ and she took a temporary break from Twitter. She has since returned to the platform.
She told BBC Radio Derby at the time: ‘I can take a bit of banter but it became sexist and homophobic, and really insulting.
‘The bit that really hurt was people saying I had no standards and I was letting policing down.’
She added: ‘Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I might have a slightly different hairstyle. Yes, I am quite small. I could not believe that my mere existence could cause such a depth of feeling.
‘Some comments were misogynistic and homophobic and the abuse has been recorded as a hate incident, just as for the public.’
In addition to the 15 chiefs who are women, there are also two female assistant commissioners at the Met Police, which is led by the force’s commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (pictured)
Merseyside Police chief Serena Kennedy (pictured left) and North Yorkshire Police boss Lisa Winward (right)
South Yorkshire Police chief Lauren Poultney (pictured left) and Staffordshire Police boss Jane Sawyers (right
Jo Shiner (pictured above), who serves as the chief constable for Sussex Police
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