On International Womens Day yesterday, the Met rolled out its new Walk & Talk initiative to help improve womens safety across London, whilst also celebrating its female staff and encouraging more women to join the Met as police constables, in a series of events running throughout the week.
Image courtesy Metropolitan Police
Women in every London borough can now apply to go on a Walk & Talk with a local police officer, to share their thoughts on safety and how to bring about positive change as they walk through areas they feel vulnerable.
Details on how to apply for a Walk & Talk are at www.met.police.uk and on posters appearing across London.
Walk & Talk is the brainchild of Lambeth and Southwark based acting Inspector Becky Perkins, who wanted women in the area to feel confident and safe on the streets. She enlisted 25 neighbourhood officers to buddy up with women for patrols in the hope that by walking with them on their usual routes and hearing first-hand what their concerns were, police would be able to act and build trust.
Inspector Perkins is one of more than 16,000 women bringing their passion for protecting people to the Met. Of these, nearly 10,000 are police officers, working in wide-ranging teams such as Safer Neighbourhoods, the Specialist Firearms Command, Violent Crime Task Force and the new Town Centre Teams.
One in three local Met officers is female and we want more women to 'be the change they want to see' by considering a career in policing.
Commander Helen Harper, head of Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement for the Met, said: “We are really listening to what women are telling us about how safe they feel in London, and we are working hard to improve their safety. We are continuing to build a Met that better represents the communities it serves by recruiting more women police officers. Now, more than ever, we need women who have a passion for helping others to join the Met, to help us continue to always be better.”
See www.met.police.uk/careers for information on policing roles and how to apply to become a Met police officer.
The Met has a vast range of benefits and support groups to help its women workforce, including:
part-time working and flexible rostering, including job-sharing
Met Baby, a dedicated support service for parents who are expecting or adopting a child and the Fertility Support Network for those undertaking fertility treatment
a career development service providing underrepresented employees with personalised support to achieve their career aspirations
specialist women’s support groups, such as the Network of Women and the Endometriosis Support Network
A group of women from the Met’s Outreach team, which is dedicated to recruiting police officers from more diverse communities, partnered up with women from London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade to hold a live webinar, in which they talked about what it is like to be female and on the front line.
Two police officers from the Met’s Mounted Branch and an acting detective inspector who solves robberies in Enfield and Haringey were among the guest speakers and there was a live streaming from the Met’s stables at Great Scotland Yard. They spoke candidly about why they joined the Met, the realities of being a police officer and why they think it is important for more women to join 'the job'.
They were joined by PC Emma Cross, a hate crime and woman engagement officer for Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley, who said: “A massive part of my work I do on my own initiative and I have a lot of pride in supporting vulnerable people. With every person I speak to I make it my main goal that they know they have been listened to and that we as an organisation are transparent and care.”
In Ireland yesterday, the highest ranking woman police officer in the history of the UK, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, delivered a keynote speech at the annual International Association of Women Policing conference alongside some of her policing counterparts who have also broken the glass ceiling.
Numerous other events are taking place across the Met including the launch of the second phase of a joint reverse mentoring scheme with charity Girls’ Network, which sees disadvantaged young women and girls coach senior women police officers.
Events are not limited to the public. In the Met’s ongoing efforts to improve standards within the organisation, and to celebrate and support its female employees, a range of internal activities are being held, including an inspiration-themed meeting of the Network of Women, which will see female officers share their experiences with colleagues and talk about the steps they are taking to inspire and support female colleagues across the force; a coffee morning for new police officer mums and virtual health and wellbeing sessions.
Commander Harper said: “International Women’s Day is only 24 hours but the Met is committed to listening to and acting on the needs of women inside and outside of the Met every single day of the year.”