More than half of police recruits in Lancashire are women
Campaigner hail progress in drive for greater equality to the force
More than half of new police officer recruits in Lancashire last year were women, figures reveal, as male domination in the ranks continues to subside.
While the Government says there is more work to be done to make forces representative, campaigners say a rise in female officers will help build public confidence in policing.
Home Office data shows Lancashire Constabulary took on 220 new officers in 2020-21, including 135 who were women.
The increase in female recruits will go some way toward balancing the gender ranks among the force’s police officers.
Separate Home Office figures show 35 per cent of officers in Lancashire were women in March last year, up from 31 per cent four years before.
Across the 43 police forces in England and Wales that proportion rose to 32 per cent last year from 30 per cent 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 199 at Lancashire Constabulary.
The force, which now has 3,187 police officers, has been set the target of recruiting an additional 150 by the end of March next year.