Rising number of female police officers recruited in Cambridgeshire

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

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 7:57 pm
More women are being recruited as police officers in Cambridgeshire, figures reveal, as male domination in the ranks continues to subside. Photo: PA EMN-210514-163148001

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 Cambridgeshire Constabulary took on 143 new officers in 2020-21, including 60 who were women (42%).

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

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Separate Home Office figures show 32% of officers in Cambridgeshire were women in March last year, up from 30% four years before.

Across the 43 police forces in England and Wales that proportion rose to 32% last year from 30% 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 123 at Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

The force, which now has 1,649 police officers, has been set the target of recruiting an additional 61 by the end of March next year.