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Celebrating women of Bedfordshire

8 Mar 2021

We are celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day by sharing stories from the women working on the frontline to protect the county’s communities.

Since 1946 when the first two women recruits, Irene Walters and Maud Lawrence, joined the ranks of Bedfordshire Police, the force has undergone numerous changes to improve its inclusivity and diversity.

Thanks to WPC Carole Groom (now Phillips), women were integrated into regular, full-time, frontline policing in 1974, a year before the change was enforced nationally through the Sex Discrimination Act.

The force currently employs hundreds of women amongst its officers and staff who work tirelessly to protect vulnerable people and offer them support in their time of need.

Detective Superintendent Zara Brown

Detective Superintendent Zara Brown, head of Bedfordshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “I would like to celebrate all the women within our county and our force.

“The last year has been difficult for all of us, and a situation like this was so unprecedented, that many of us struggled to adjust to the new reality.

“With schools closed and all of us being required to stay at home, the struggle has really affected women. As a mother I understand the strain of juggling professional responsibilities, childcare and house chores.

“But it’s not only that, the increased time we are spending at home has been especially difficult to the most vulnerable. People in abusive relationships are now spending more time with their abusers. With the additional anxiety around the uncertainty of employment and financial struggles, they are experiencing increased violence and abuse.

“We would like to share the stories of Bedfordshire Police’s women who work in varied roles across our force to protect people at risk of harm.

“I would like to reassure anyone who is experiencing any form of domestic or sexual abuse or violence, whether it is physical or if someone is making you feel unsafe at home, these amazing women are here for you.

“You will be heard and we will treat each report seriously.”

If you have been affected by crime, the Signpost Hub offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not, and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred.

For further information or to get in contact visit Signpost for Bedfordshire or call 0800 0282 887.

Detective Inspector Katherine Rivers

Detective Inspector Katherine Rivers works in the Emerald team, which is dedicated to investigating domestic abuse, said: “The longer I have worked here, the more passionate I have become about this area of policing. I want to try and help victims who are abused by the people who are supposed to love and care for them the most. 

“It is a complex area of work that is not easily resolved, but the team I work with are brilliant and we do are best to support and advise our victims along whichever route they choose to take.”

Victim Engagement Officers Arvinder Leroux

Arvinder Leroux is one of our Victim Engagement Officers working in the Protecting Vulnerable People unit, she said: “I work with victims to provide a holistic service, ensuring that they are at the centre of all investigations. This can include providing emotional support, practical support, referring them to other agencies and more importantly being the voice for the victim. I know the difference "being heard" can make and I am proud to be able to be the person that listens on behalf of the police force. 

“I feel passionate about helping victims to have a voice and refer to the quote by Malala Yousafzai, writer and activist: "So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard." 

Honour Based Abuse and Harmful Practices officer PC Sally Taylor

PC Sally Taylor works in the Emerald team. She is the force’s Honour Based Abuse and Harmful Practices officer. Sally said: “This role is one of the most rewarding I have worked in so far in my career. I get to support and empower victims, who are predominately women, to recognise the abuse they are suffering and help them leave those environments. One of the best things about my job are messages I have had from the victims months down the line saying that without my help they would have never been able to leave and how grateful they are for my support.”

If you would like to start a career in policing with us visit our careers homepage or read more about women in policing over on our meet our officers page.

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