Police officers and staff from across the Met parade through central London to celebrate International Women’s Day and the centenary of women in the force.
Women officers and staff from the Met will line up this afternoon [Friday, 8 March] at 2pm for the Met’s “100 Years Strong Procession” in central London to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).
They will be joined on the route from Birdcage Walk to Horse Guards Parade via Buckingham Palace by retired Met police officers and women from other police forces, emergency services, and the military. Male colleagues from the Met and other organisations will also join them, to celebrate the common pride and solidarity they have in keeping the public safe.
A colour party will lead the procession in front of the Met’s most senior female officers: Commissioner Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi and Chief Superintendent Parm Sandhu – the Met’s most senior female BAME officer, along with the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden.
They will be followed by the band of the Coldstream Guards and the Met’s Mounted Branch, as well as dog handlers and firearms officers.
Behind the front section will be serving and retired police officers from the Met and other forces, including uniformed officers and detectives. Members of staff from departments ranging from human resources and call handlers at 999 centres to forensics will also join them.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “This short procession will be a fantastic opportunity to represent how far women in policing have come and the bright future ahead. I am sure there will be an incredible atmosphere of pride on the day and I cannot think of a better way for the Met to mark International Women’s Day and 100 years of Metropolitan police women.
“Female officers are just over a quarter of our total strength today and occupy a huge range of influential and important jobs across the organisation, but we want to do even more long-term to increase that proportion to 50 per cent.
“We are striving hard to bring in positive changes that will further improve options for women and offer them greater flexibility – these will build on the range of measures we have already introduced such as offering new pathways to join and rejoin policing, such as ‘returnships.’"
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, said: “The 8th March is an important day globally. Our procession honours the incredible and brave pioneers who paved the way for women officers now. We are celebrating the diversity of women in the Met today and the wide range of roles they perform. I hope that today focuses on the future and inspires the next generation of women to join the Met – a fabulous career where every day you can make a difference.”
“Today’s event shows women who might be interested in a change of career and to young girls across the country, that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”
As well as supporting IWD, the procession also marks 100 years since women were allowed to join the MPS – an achievement that plays a key part in the first female specific recruitment campaign the Met has run, entitled ‘Strong’. The Met is actively seeking more women to choose the challenging and brilliant career path that the organisation offers.
‘Strong’ was launched in November 2018 in a bid to encourage women to follow in the footsteps of the pioneers from the last century and help write the next chapters of the Met’s history over the coming decades.
Initial results back are very positive, showing a steady increase in the number of women wanting to join the MPS. In recent weeks, the percentage of registrations [expressions of interest] from women has risen from 30% to 42%.
During the parade, there will be a poignant moment of reflection at the National Police Memorial where wreaths will be laid to remember the sacrifices of fallen officers WPC Bertha Gleghorn, WPC Jane Arbuthnot, WPC Yvonne Fletcher and PC Nina Mackay.
The procession is due to finish at around 16:00hrs at Horse Guard’s Parade square, where a selection of vintage police vehicles will be on display and the Commissioner will address attendees and close the event.
A spokesperson for the Army said: “The Army is extremely pleased to be part of this special procession organised and led by the MPS. We work closely daily with the police, enjoying a strong relationship built up by many personnel across both organisations, be it whilst undertaking ceremonial duty events or through specialist operations where we support the police. This event provides an opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 showing the public the various roles that females undertake, both in the police and the Army and may encourage others to look towards such careers in the future”.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Metropolitan Police Service should visit the recruitment page: https://www.met.police.uk/car/careers