The Crime Prevention Website

This year Cumbria Constabulary is celebrating a century of female police officers.

As part of the celebrations of women in policing, a long-serving officer and two new recruits have spoken about their experiences of being a female police officer.

Sgt Sue Jamieson is based in Brampton, and has been working for Cumbria Constabulary for 34 years – the longest serving female officer currently working for the force.

“One of the main changes between now and when I first joined the police is the number of female officers. When I started women officers were very much in the minority. Now the ratio is nearer 50/50 with more female officers in senior rank roles than ever.

“Huge changes over the last few decades include the uniform and equipment. When I first started female officers had to wear skirts, only later were we able to wear trousers on night shifts.

“Police cars for all officers in Carlisle were little Minis, with a single blue beacon. You were not ‘promoted’ to a ‘panda driver’ unless you had completed at least six months foot patrol! There were no computers, everything was paper based and all files had to be written in long hand unless you were good at typing and there were a few manual typewriters available.

“My favourite part of working with for Cumbria Police over the last 34 years is getting to work with such a great group of people. We often have to deal with tragic cases, and the team spirit and rapport helps to keep me motivated and happy in my job.

“Over the years I have also been lucky enough to be involved in some major investigations. Being involved in high profile cases is very interesting and rewarding.”

PC Penny Addison, aged 25, based in Carlisle, has recently joined the force. She said:

“Training so far has been what I expected, both women and men are treated exactly the same, I haven’t noticed a difference between us at all.

“I chose policing because it’s such a challenging but rewarding career and the people and situations always change, it’s always different.

“I like that you can specialise after your training and think that I want to go into public protection.

“The hardest part of the training so far is all of the different areas you have to know. The driving, knowledge, law, and physical training is all a bit of a jigsaw.”

PC Camille Best, aged 23, based in Workington, is also a new recruit. She said:

“This year there was an equal intake of both men and women. We all have to meet the same standards and we’re all expected to do the same thing. With the restraining techniques we use it doesn’t matter what your size and gender is.

“The hardest part of the job so far is knowing our powers and all of the legislation we need to learn.

“I joined because I wanted to help ensure future generations in Cumbria have similar safe environment to the one I grew up in. Prior to joining I worked with horses so I’m an active person and I wanted a job where I would have an active role. I went to boarding school so I’m used to living and working with lots of different types of people from all over the world and that’s what the job entails. My granddad worked for the Yorkshire Police so there’s a bit of a legacy there too.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes said:

“It is reassuring to see that Cumbria Constabulary is still attracting women into the force, and that the feedback we are getting is positive.  Diversity in any workforce is key, and for the police this means being able to ensure that we are representative of our communities, in order to serve them best.”

Cumbria Constabulary Website:

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