Service held to remember UK's first woman police officer

Edith Smith Credit: Merseyside Police

A special service is being held in Cheshire later to remember the country's first woman police officer.

Edith Smith was born in Oxton on the Wirral.

As well as raising her family she worked as a midwife, before becoming a volunteer police officer when the First World War broke out in 1914.

The following year she was made a full officer serving in Grantham in Lincolnshire.

She died in 1923 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Runcorn.

After a campaign locally a headstone was installed and it will be commemorated later today.

We are absolutely delighted that thanks to the help of the public and staff members from a number of police forces and societies, more than £2,500 was raised to provide a headstone for Edith's grave and a service to celebrate her life.

Edith contributed a phenomenal amount to policing and her work paved the way for the officers of today, particularly female officers. As well as her police work she travelled throughout Britain, giving talks, writing books and campaigning about woman's policing. We couldn't believe that despite all of this and her unique place in British history, Edith's grave remained unmarked.

Through a JustGiving page as well as events such as cake sales, we have managed to raise the funds needed to ensure Edith's final resting place has been rightfully marked. We are really looking forward to the service and it is a privilege that Edith's granddaughter is able to attend.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated, your contributions have made it possible to mark Edith's place in history, and finally I would like to thank Edith, for all she has done for police officers of past and present.

– Inspector Vicky Holden, Merseyside Police