Police leader praises force's support for gender equality
PUBLISHED: 18:00 09 February 2018
Avon and Somerset Constabulary's police and crime commissioner (PCC) says has been 'surprised' by attitudes within the force since she took office.
Sue Mountstevens became PCC in 2012 before being re-elected in 2016 and, despite being one of just a handful of women in the position across the UK, says the West Country force has proven it is more ‘open’ to giving senior roles to women.
Ms Mountstevens said: “For me, I don’t feel being a female public leader is any different than if I was a man – I do not feel the constabulary treats me any differently.
“When I first started as PCC I was initially expecting some difficulties in joining what has always traditionally been known as a male-dominated environment.
“However the reality was quite different and I was surprised at how open those around me were to working with not only myself but other women in senior positions across the constabulary.
“This is not to say the minority have had an easy time.
“We have been striving to change attitudes for the past 100 years and I am not prepared to wait another 100 years for further improvements.”
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Despite representation of women in senior police ranks improving – more than 30 per cent of police constables are women – Ms Mountstevens believes more should be done to address the balance.
She added: “At the most senior level two of the current members of the chief officer group in the constabulary are women, holding the positions of deputy chief constable and assistant chief constable.
“While a considerable way from true equality, the police service is working hard to make improvements and we continue to see steady progress year on year.
“However, there is always more that can be done to ensure the workforce is more gender representative.
“I feel passionate that our police service and elected officials like myself should be more representative of the communities we serve.
“Gender should not be something that makes a person feel they can’t achieve or hold a certain position.”