We are delighted to welcome Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, Kate Halpin, to our networking event in June for an audience with….
Kate Halpin joined the Metropolitan Police in 1990 initially being posted to Carter Street Division covering Walworth and Camberwell. She has had a varied career serving primarily in investigative roles across South East London and a number of specialist departments including the Child Protection Major Enquiry Team, Professional Standards Department and the MPS’ Specialist Rape Command. As a native of South East London she clearly remembers her selection interview when she was advised by her interviewing panel to not expect a local posting and that the Metropolitan Police “could send her anywhere, even to Wembley”. Little could she imagine when she was interviewed in February 1990 that in 1999 she would become the first female to be awarded a Fulbright Police Fellowship to examine how the LAPD, LA County Sheriff, partner agencies and academics in Los Angeles policed youth crime and that in 2008 she would be seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to spend 18 months as the UK Chief Police Advisor in Iraq.
In 2015 she was appointed as the Borough Commander for Lewisham, a borough she knew very well as it was where her parents were born and brought up and where her grandfather, who inspired her to join the Met, worked covering Deptford in the 1950s. In 2017 she was elected by her colleagues to represent them and their interests as The General Secretary of the MPS’ Superintendents’ Association (or as she explained to her mum she is the union rep for her peers!)
It was 100 years ago, on 22 November 1918, that the then Commissioner Sir Cecil Macready officially announced that the Met would have female police officers – known as the Women Patrols. This followed the Home Secretary accepting the Commissioner’s proposal to form a department of women police officers under the supervision of Superintendent Sofia Stanley.
Only two years earlier, a Daily Express reporter asked a Scotland Yard official: “Is there any possibility of women being employed as Police Constables?” The reply was “No, not even if the war lasts 50 years.”
However, they were proven wrong in February 1919 when the first female officers took to the streets of London, some 90 years after the Met was founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.
The Metropolitan Police Women Patrols comprised just 21 of these pioneering women in February 1919, but they quickly grew to be 112 strong (one superintendent, one assistant superintendent, ten patrol leaders and 100 patrols). Their pay was low and no pension rights were given. Their contracts were to be on a yearly ‘experimental’ basis and they were not to be called police women, they were to be called Women Patrols. They were not sworn in, nor were they given the power of arrest.
From the formation of the Women Patrols, these trailblazers worked in a variety of specialist but restricted roles until the women’s department was disbanded in 1973. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, more police officer roles, including specialist roles began to open up to women across the organisation.
Today, nearly 8,000 women officers occupy a huge range of influential and important roles across the organisation in every area of our work and at every rank. All operational policing roles are open to women whether that is running armed operations, supervising surveillance teams, carrying firearms or supporting victims of crime and abuse. The appointment of Commissioner Cressida Dick in 2017 shows that there truly are no limits to being a woman in the Met.
The event will be followed by networking drinks, so we do hope you can join us. Members and a guest are free of charge, non-members just £10.
Tickets available now: