The first-ever statue of a female police officer, which recognises the role that women play in policing over the past 100 years, has been unveiled at the Victoria Police Academy today.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville joined Acting Chief Commissioner Andrew Crisp and Deputy Commissioner Wendy Steendam, Victoria’s highest ranking female police officer, to unveil the statue.
The hand-made, life-sized statue is of a female police sergeant and is surrounded by plaques with images of past and present policewomen in Victoria Police.
Victoria Police has more than 4,000 women serving as police officers in 2017, and many more public servants, Protective Services Officers and Police Custody Officers.
The Andrews Labor Government has delivered the single biggest funding boost in the history of the force with $2 billion to recruit an extra 3,135 new police to hit the streets.
In June this year, one-third of all new police recruits were women, with Victoria Police continuing to support and encourage more women to join the force as part of its record-breaking recruitment drive.
Female police are at the forefront of modern policing – in leadership positions, in metropolitan and country locations, and in specialist roles such as prosecutors, crime scene investigators and detectives.
The first policewoman, Madge Connor, was employed by Victoria Police as an ‘agent’ in 1917. She worked on half the pay of a policeman and with no powers of arrest, rights to a pension, uniform or weapon of any kind.
In 1920, Ms Connor led a deputation of female police and watch-house matrons in a successful fight for an increase in their salaries.
On 12 November 1924, four policewomen were officially sworn in and became the first women to obtain equal pay.
Victoria Police offers a range of performance development programs and flexible work options to ensure that career development opportunities are accessible while achieving work-life balance.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“The statue is a symbol of the contribution women make to policing across the state and how central their involvement is in shaping Victoria Police.”
“Women are at the forefront of modern policing and we want that to continue, which is why we are specifically targeting woman recruits as part of our historic commitment to deliver 3,135 new police over five years.”