100 years of women in policing

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WA Police is proud to celebrate 100 years of Women in Policing.

2017 provides an opportunity to take a look back at the struggles and successes which make up the pioneering experiences of those who have played a part in this journey. This significant milestone is a great opportunity to not only pause and reflect on how far women have come, but to also contemplate the progress which is yet to be made.

Looking back, the very first female police officers were appointed in 1917.

Helen Dugdale and Laura Chipper
The first female police officers Helen Dugdale (left) and Laura Chipper (right) were appointed in 1917.

Instead of frontline duties, these two pioneering officers were directed to look after the moral welfare of women and children, particularly young girls. Their job was to patrol parks, entertainment areas and slum neighbourhoods, and ‘anywhere else that women and children might be found’.

Traditionally carrying a handbag and wearing hats and gloves, women were issued with an official WA Police uniform in the 1970s.

Thankfully times have changed, and female police officers now proudly stand side-by-side their male counterparts with the agency proudly showcasing a strong representation of women at senior ranks and levels.

Right now help is required to further piece our policing women’s journey together. Do you, or someone you know have photographs, memorabilia or a good story that you could share with us? We are looking to help paint an even clearer picture of the extent of change, and the funny and challenging things which have remained vivid even with the passing of time.

To share your story, email Women in Policing.