Over the last decade the number of female police officers in Britain has continued to rise steadily, but they still remain severely under-represented within the service.
The last ten years have seen a steady increase in the number women gaining employment as officers within the UK police force.
In 2003, the proportion of female police officers in Britain stood at 19 per cent (25,139). That number has risen year on year as attitudes towards gender discrimination and stereotypes have continued to change.
The most recent figures released last year show that the percentage of female police officers in Britain now stands at 27.9 per cent (35,653) an 8.9 per cent increase across all 43 area forces.
These figures show that women are finding it far easier to secure a job within the service than when male and female policing was first integrated in the 1970’s.
However, despite this positive correlation, a figure of 27.9 per cent still shows that women are severely under-represented in comparison to their male counterparts.
But just how close are we to reaching a fully gender equal force, if ever? Nottingham-based PCSO Irene Litchfield believes it is certainly possible.
However, this is not a message reflected by some. President of the Chief Superintendents Association of England and Wales Irene Curtis says we have to be realistic.
Research carried out by the British Association of Women’s Policing (BAWP) suggests that the percentage of female police officers should reach 35 per cent by 2020.
But with governmental budget cuts to save money affecting all areas of policing it might take even longer to reach that target and may never reach the 50/50 gender equal force needed to truly reflect society.