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Female Police Officers

​"The Commissioner, with the approval of the necessary authorities, has decided to recruit one policewoman sergeant and six policewomen for duty in this force."

This was the entry that appeared in City Police weekly orders on September 9 1949, heralding the introduction to the Force of its first women police officers.

Candidates had to be "between 22 and 35 years of age and not less than five and a half feet in height (without shoes)". On appointment, WPcs were paid £290 a year for a six day forty-eight hour week. Their duty time was restricted to between 7.30 am and 10.30 pm and it was originally intended that they were not to be on night duty.

For the first few years the City women police officers were posted to Bishopsgate Police Station, where residential accommodation was provided for them in parts of the disbanded City Police Hospital. Three month attachments were made to the other stations, and, when the Central Criminal Court was in session, one WPc was always on duty there. From 1954 WPcs were posted directly to territorial divisions.

Fifty years ago a service type uniform was worn with a blue shirt (changed to white a few years later), black tie, a long skirt, peaked cap and the City red and white duty armband. In 1969 Norman Hartnell designed a new uniform for the City WPcs consisting of a double breasted box jacket with a velvet collar, a pillar box type cap and a white tricel blouse with black polka dots and matching cravat type necktie. In the early 1970s the tunic was changed to a single breasted design and worn with a white topped hostess type hat. The current bowler style hat became uniform in April 1992 and is now worn with a plain white shirt and a red and white checked cravat.

The early policewoman's duties were mainly concerned with patrol work and looking after juveniles and females. It was not until June 1975 that night duty was introduced to the work rota for the women police, as opposed to having a WPc on stand-by in the women's quarters. Almost from the beginning, WPcs had served attachments with the CID but it was not until 1970 that the first Woman Detective Constable was appointed.

A total of 356 women have been sworn in as constables in the City of London Police in the last 50 years. Today, women police officers are a fully integrated part of the City of London Police, a fact recognised by the removal of the 'W' prefix from WPc in April 1999.​​​​