Elite police squads equip for women
Friday 06 August 1999
Commander Judy Davison, president of the British Association of Women Police, revealed yesterday that a series of measures is being introduced to improve female representation in such units.Women officers find it difficult to take posts in specialist firearms units because they cannot get their fingers around the triggers of the Beretta and Heckler & Koch 9mm weapons the special forces favour.
Ms Davison's City of London force has introduced slimmer weapons, such as the small Glock 9mm handgun, and has also asked Honda to develop a police specification model of its NT 650V Deauville motorcycle, which is 74kg lighter than the standard-issue Honda ST1100.
The Metropolitan Police is pursuing a similar policy after concerns that women officers found powerful standard issuemotorbikes physically intimidating and too heavy to handle in traffic.
Ms Davison said the sheer bulk of the larger machine would be off-putting: "I can only say that as an individual who has never ridden a motorcycle, I find the size of the vehicle intimidating."
There are only a handful of women police motorcyclists in the whole of the country and, as in most forces, City of London has none. "If we have a lighter bike that actually looks smaller and does the same job, it must be an advantage," Ms Davison said.
Police chiefs are aware that women are seriously under-represented in specialist squads. Research produced by the University of Teesside last December suggested that such units were seen by many female officers as the last bastions of male chauvinism.
With the abolition of traditional height restrictions in the police, senior officers are anxious that the size of equipment does not prohibit smaller officers, male and female, from joining elite squads.
Proposals to introduce more women-friendly equipment come in response to concern over the problems faced by women officers who need to wear stab and bullet-resistant protective vests, which are shaped to fit men and are uncomfortable for female officers.
Ms Davison said the new availability of flexible protective materials had provided a possible solution for the body armour problem. She added that she was encouraged by how helpful chief constables were being towards the needs of women officers.
Women police are also unhappy with the design of belts on which they are expected to carry handcuffs, a baton, a radio, CS spray canister, document pouches and possibly a firearm, making them impractical for people with slim waists. Women would also like shorter riot shields.
Ms Davison, who sits on the equal opportunities committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "You have to run in your protective clothing and carrying a shield. Even if you are fit, if you are short in stature it is very hard to carry it above ground level."
Even the build of some police vehicles, particularly vans, means many women have difficulty in reaching the pedals.
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...