Winners of a schools art competition to celebrate 100 years of women in the Metropolitan Police Service were handed certificates in honour of their achievements by Commissioner Cressida Dick at New Scotland Yard.
The trip to the Met’s iconic headquarters and chance to meet the Commissioner was part of a whole day of activities on Wednesday, 19 June planned for those who impressed the judges – including a boat trip along the River Thames with the Met’s marine policing unit; the chance to meet police horses and dogs and see a display by specialist Met divers.
After lunch with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, who has been one of the champions of the 100 years campaign, the seven girls and three boys aged between six and fourteen were then ushered into Scotland Yard’s press conference room for the certificate ceremony.
The art competition stemmed from an engagement programme with primary and secondary schools, run as part of the 100 years of women in police campaign and led by the Met’s cadre of dedicated schools officers.
It aimed to encourage children and young people to consider and debate the contribution of females to policing since 1919 in a range of settings – including assemblies, career days and bespoke lessons. In total officers reached out to 11,210 young people through this engagement.
The art competition was launched at the start of the year and ran until end of April. It was open to pupils all over London aged between five and fifteen who could contribute in any medium including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and even moving images.
Applicants were encouraged to use their imagination and be as original as possible – resulting in a staggering 270 entries from children all over the capital from around 34 different schools. Cadets and children of officers/staff who work at the Met also took part.
The entries were split into three categories, aligned to Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, with a winner and two runners-up picked for each. There were ten young people in total to take account of the fact two sisters’ complete one of the successful runners-up submissions. A number of other entries were also highly commended for the skill and innovation they displayed.
Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan led the competition together with the 100 years campaign’s schools strand lead, Detective Superintendent Vicky Washington.
She said: “Running this competition to mark 100 years of women in the Met has been an incredible and rewarding experience – we were so impressed by the quality and range of entries, which made judging them very tricky! My colleagues and I were delighted to be able to reward the best of these with a memorable day out.
“The work we have done in tandem in the schools to accompany this has been really worthwhile and successful, as I know myself from the reaction to the talks I did personally.
“It’s vital for us as police officers to build relationships with the young, to break down barriers which, this competition aimed to do. It helped make us more approachable as officers, and also provided a valuable opportunity for children and young people themselves to have a voice.
“Overall we are very pleased that it successfully raised awareness of the contribution of females to the Met both past and present, and hopefully it has inspired not a few youngsters of both sexes to follow in our footsteps when they are older.”
Det Supt Vicky Washington added: “The themes that came out of the entries, conveying that the children who completed them clearly associate the Met with security, pride and reassurance, underline what a positive difference working closely with schools can make.
“We now have over 400 safer schools and youth engagement officers, an increase of more than a 100 from two years ago. Their presence working in partnership with 631 schools helps build confidence between police, teachers, parents and students and promotes a collaborative approach to the safeguarding of young people and the sharing of intelligence.”
The full list of winners and runners-up for are:
Key stage one - Winner: Joshua Dunn, age 6, St. James R.C. Primary, Bromley runners-up, Oona Drohan, age 5, St James RC Primary, Bromley and Oliver Crowson, age 7, Northview School Neasden, Brent.
Key stage two – Winner: Anna Orphanou, age 9, Green St Primary School, Orpington Bromley; sisters Aliza age 10 and Shazad Ali age 9, Chobham Academy, Newham and Iris Lloyd-Brissenden, age 11, Ray Lodge Primary School, Woodford Green, Redbridge.
Key stage three – Winner: Mia Clarke, age 13, Fulham Cross Girls’ School, Hammersmith and Fulham; Runners-up, Adiba Hossain, age 14, from Bower Park Academy in Romford, Havering, and finally Fatma Omar, age 14, from Copthall School, Pursley Road, Mill Hill, Barnet.
The winner of the oldest age group, Mia Clarke, painted a representation of police women from five different eras, stretching from the very beginning in 1919 to the present day, complete with accurate uniforms. She explained: “My artwork represents the journey which police women went through. They are looking either way at one another as a sign of gratitude and respect.’
The day-long event to celebrate the competition marks the very last event in what has been an eight month long campaign to mark the centenary, led by the Commissioner.
Launching last year on 22 November with a photoshoot outside New Scotland Yard featuring female officers from all ranks, roles and racial backgrounds standing proudly alongside Cressida Dick, it has highlighted many historic milestones important in the history of female policing.
Events have included an exhibition of historic artefacts relating to females at the Met’s heritage centre and a celebratory procession of female officers and other emergency service workers in central London to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March.
In April, a photographic exhibition opened at City Hall showcasing the diversity of the roles undertaken by current 8,000 strong cadre of Met women, and on 17 May, a special service of thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey - a hundred years after female officers were first seen in uniform in public at a similar service at the Abbey held in May 1919.