Typist holds key to keeping the peace

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The Independent Online
A former typist has a tough new role - coaching police officers to deal with trouble.

Judy Cousins, 35, was picked from 40 other applicants - mostly men - to become Britain's first female civilian public order trainer. She will work with Northumbria police.

Her 16 years of typing for the force may not seem the ideal preparation - but she is a former national judo champion and black belt and is keen on many other sports from hockey and volleyball to golf, tennis and squash.

Judy, who lives at Hexham and worked at the town's police station, was seconded to headquarters for six months.

"I did feel under some pressure to prove myself at first because I was a woman moving into what had been very much a man's world until my appointment in public order training," she said.

"But I was completely accepted by all the male officers from the very outset.

"I know woman are not generally as strong as men, but we can bring other qualities to the job - not least that a woman tends to be less aggressive by nature."