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BTP celebrates 100 years of women police officers

100 years of women.JPG

GER policewomen, Guildhall City of London, 20th September 1917. Eight new recruits are sworn in, accompanied by their Woman Sergeant. Standing: PW Bush, PW Hall, PW Carter, PW Wass, PW Humphries. Seated: PW Gosling, PW Carr, PS Hood, PW Harris.

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Today British Transport Police marks 100 years since women were first employed to police the railways.

Over the past 100 years the role of women in British Transport Police has changed significantly.

Below we outline some of the major milestones the Force has reached in employing women:

One hundred years ago, in 1917, Margaret Hood was the first female police officer employed by the Great Eastern Railway Company police at Liverpool Street station in London.

A single parent to two children, Margaret was hired directly into the rank of Sergeant. Shortly after her appointment in May, she was joined by a further six female officers who she managed.

Her appointment led to national media interest, with the Daily Mirror describing the decision to employ her as an “interesting experiment”.

Superintendent Gill Murray said: “We couldn’t let this milestone pass us by without celebrating the success of women in policing the railway, its been an amazing journey.

“Policing in general has changed hugely over the past 100 years but, more so for women. From the impractical uniforms, the small batons and handbags we first had to wear to the overall culture within the police service.

“Women police officers have a lot to be proud of. It was unheard of for a woman to reach the more senior ranks 100 years ago, so it is very pleasing and a very proud moment for me to see women represented in all ranks within BTP’s workforce where.”

BTP Today

Currently there are 1,980 women employed in BTP across all divisions, units and departments.

Today, all roles are open to both male and female officers, and a woman’s role is no longer based on her gender, but her own abilities and merit.

Women are supported through networks such as the Female Police Association and initiatives to support their career development, as they remain an under-represented group.

We have come a really long way in the past 100 years and are hoping to build on this progress for the next 100 years to come.

A timeline of women in BTP

1917: Sergeant Margaret Hood is employed by the Great Eastern Railway as the first female police officer

1917: Elsie Rogers is the first female Inspector after being employed by the London and South Coast railway directly into the rank

1924: Ada Atherton, based at Waterloo, becomes the first female railway detective. She worked in plain clothes detecting and prosecuting fare evaders

1944: WPC Lilian Gale, stationed at Plymouth Docks, is the first female officer to be killed on duty

1950: British Transport Commission Police introduce rank of Sergeant for women

1961: Vera Lee becomes British Transport Police’s first female Inspector

1963: Vera Lee becomes British Transport Police’s first female Chief Inspector

1974: Ann Matthews is the first and only female police cadet

1982: Maggie Lyall, based in Scotland, is BTP’s first female dog handler

1991: Chief Inspector Betty Glover becomes the first female commandant of Tadworth training school

2010: Ellie Bird is the first female officer in BTP to be promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent

2017: Superintendent Jenny Gilmer is BTP’s first female officer to pass the Senior Police National Assessment Centre


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Policewoman Margaret LYALL and Denny, Glasgow. In 1982 Margaret became the first female dog handler in the BTP

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