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BTP History Week - Here come the girls ...women in policing

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History - women

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Women began policing the railways during the First World War, when many of the male railway police officers were called up to serve on the frontline. Whilst female police officers carried out similar duties to men, they also found themselves dealing with female offenders and matters involving women and children.

The very first female officer was employed by the Great Eastern Railway Company at Liverpool Street station. Margaret Hood was sworn in in May 1917 and played a key role in observing and apprehending female pickpockets.

Margaret’s appointment made headlines, with an article in the Daily Mirror describing the employment of a female officer an “interesting experiment” for the Great Eastern Railway Company. Further women constables were employed by the railway in September 2017, with Margaret as a Sergeant leading a team of eight female constables.

Margaret and her officers would have been expected to wear an ankle length skirt, a tunic with a whistle and a wide brimmed hat, which is at odds to today where female officers wear trousers and boots which help them to carry out their duties on the railway much more effectively.

The number of female officers declined after the war as the men returned, but increased again during the Second World War. In 1946 it was recognised that women carried out an important role in railway policing and the role of WPC became firmly established and championed.

Fast forward to present day, and we now have over 1,500 women employed as police officers, staff and special constables across the country.

To learn more about the variety roles that women in BTP play, visit our website

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