Women play their part in modern police force

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Auxilary officer Jessica Raynor, acting Sergeant Lauren Tamblyn, acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Clarke, Senior Constable Diana Flint and senior Aboriginal police liaison officer Sophie Edwards.
Camera IconAuxilary officer Jessica Raynor, acting Sergeant Lauren Tamblyn, acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Clarke, Senior Constable Diana Flint and senior Aboriginal police liaison officer Sophie Edwards. Credit: Picture: Sophia Constantine

Women in policing have come a long way since they were first appointed to the workforce in 1917.

This year marks 100 years since women first joined the force — a significant milestone and an opportunity to look back at how far women have come since stepping into their roles.

Traditionally, women were seen carrying a handbag and wearing hats and gloves before being issued a WA Police uniform in the 1970s.

Women now stand by their male counterparts and account for 33 per cent of the police force at Port Hedland police station and almost 50 per cent of South Hedland police station.

They work in a variety roles which include constables, specialists, and sex-offender managers.

With 13 years of policing under her belt, Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Clarke is one of the only two female sergeants working across both stations.

Act. Sen. Sgt Clarke spent a year- and-a-half in Cannington when she first joined the workforce in 2004 and, since then, she has spent the majority of her career working in regional WA.

She said the diversity of men and women in the workforce allowed police to achieve better results.

“Sometimes it can be challenging but often it is also very rewarding.

“I think both men and women have strengths and weaknesses in things that we bring to the workforce in different ways,” she said.

“When we have a male and female both looking at an incident or a specific situation we do get a better overall view and discussion about it so we can have a 360-view.”

Women officers in Port and South Hedland work in a range of different roles, including as youth liaison officers and domestic violence officers.

Acting Sen. Sgt Clarke said she enjoyed the challenges and responsibility of being a police officer.

“I enjoy the camaraderie, the diversity, the work that we are achieving in the community, and having an impact in the role that we do,” she said.

Acting Sen. Sgt Clarke said as the culture of women in the workforce had changed over time, more opportunities had opened for women in leadership and across the board.

“There’s a few opportunities there at the moment which is assisting women to improve in their leadership skills and hopefully further equal out that level playing field that we have,” she said.

“It’s good to see some of that focus benefit towards women in leadership.

“We have certainly got a higher than average percentage of woman up here (in Hedland). We are better at recognising what strengths in particular woman have that we can utilise in different areas.

“Whether that be in domestic violence roles, in terms of providing that support and getting that engagement with female victims.”

Port Hedland sergeant Jayd Morawski said gender in the police force was irrelevant as all officers received the same training.

“Our entire workforce gives 100 per cent all the time,” he said.

“The females we have do every role you could think of.

“Women are fantastic police officers just like males.”

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