JUST a third of newly hired police officers in Wiltshire are women, the lowest representation in England and Wales, but it’s ‘not just about hiring more women’, the force explains.
New data from the Home Office has revealed that female recruits made up just 33% of the 241 officers hired by Wiltshire Police between April 2020 and March this year – the fewest of any police force in England and Wales .
Wiltshire Police welcome these figures, but the force is also focused on long-term career progression for women.
Deputy Chief Constable Deb Smith of Wiltshire Police said: ‘It’s not just about hiring more women, we’re working hard to help women develop throughout their careers.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of women seeking promotion and passing their exams.”
The figures are a tally of the number of people hired – female police officers are also more likely to work part-time, meaning the number of female officers on the streets is likely to be lower than these figures suggest.
In 2019, the government pledged to hire 20,000 new police officers by March 2023 as part of a reinforcement program, alongside a campaign to improve ethnic and gender diversity within the force.
The total number of female police officers on duty has increased from 34% to 37% over three years to March 2022.
“There is still a long way to go”
Rick Muir, director of the Police Foundation, a policing think tank, said: “The number of female police officers has steadily increased over the past two decades, but there is still a long way to go.”
Speaking about the increase, he said the government had focused on “quantity rather than composition” to achieve its manifesto target – not placing enough emphasis on the diversity of new recruits to the forces of police.
Separate government service snapshot data on the gender pay gap shows that across all Wiltshire Police jobs, women earned 10% less than their male counterparts as of March 31, 2021.
Mr Muir added that it is too early to say whether recent police scandals and declining confidence in the police force will reduce the number of women who sign up.
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