1. ITV Report

Metropolitan Police celebrate 100 years of female officers

The first Women's Patrol pictured in Westminster in 1919. Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

It is 100 years since Commissioner Sir Cecil Macready announced the introduction of female officers into the Metropolitan Police.

On 22 November 1918 the plan to employ women in London's police was confirmed.

PC Sislin Fay Allen, the first black female officer, pictured in 1968. Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

The first intake were known as Women Patrols went onto the streets in February 1919, 90 years after the introduction of the police force by Robert Peel.

There were just female officers employed originally and they did not have the power of arrest, which they were given in 1923.

Later in 1923 they were given the title of constable, rather than patrols, to put them on par with their male colleagues.

A number of female police officers pose for a photo in the 1980s. Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

Eventually equal pay was introduced in 1974, a year after the official 'Women's Department' was disbanded.

Women now make up 27% of the Metropolitan Police, with just under 8,000 employed as officers and it is hoped the force can increase the percentage.

To mark the occasion there will be a number of commemorative events, culminating in a service at Westminster Abbey in May.

Female officers during World War II. Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “I’m immensely proud to today mark the launch of our celebrations for our centenary of women officers. With our brilliant history and the inspiring achievements of current and past female officers and staff, the experiment was not only a success, it was the start of our legacy to policing and to London. I want to thank all women officers and staff, past and present, for their dedication and service to the Met. All of us who are thriving today owe so much to the brave pioneers of the past.

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“I want to use this celebration to appeal to all women to consider having a career in the Met. Being a police officer is a diverse and challenging job, but it is extremely rewarding and you get to make a difference to so many people. Today, we have launched our female-specific recruitment campaign and there is no better time to be a woman in the Met.”