this little piece caught my eye today. the head of the independent police conduct authority has raised the issue of a lack of women in senior police positions:
Why are the women not coming through in greater numbers to senior positions? What is happening to them? Why is the organisation not conducive to retaining their services and why is there such a rate of attrition?"
i think these are valid questions, and ones that should be highlighted more than they have been. particulary in light of the louise nicholas trial and the issues that the bazeley inquiry raised around police culture. the one sure way of changing the culture is by having more women involved in the police force, at all levels.
it's past time for the police to be looking at the barriers for women to raise through the ranks, and take some action to remove those barriers. i don't believe women should be promoted just because they are women. but if they are capable, they should be encouraged to stay and they should be promoted.
i can imagine that it would be difficult for women to stay in an organisation that has a strong male-dominated culture. if the comments made by those answering the 111 call from irena asher are anything to go by, it sounds like there was a high level of misogyny present.
the bazeley report included this concern:
I am concerned that the police impetus for change may not be sustained once the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct is discharged. For this reason I believe that it is very important that an independent agency with the appropriate authority be tasked with monitoring and reporting on the implementation of my recommendations... Independent monitoring of and reporting on police progress in making these changes will thus, in my view, be critical to ensure that the momentum established through this Commission is sustained.
it is therefore important that when the independent voice of the conduct authority speaks out, we pay attention.