Tasmania Police admits there's more to be done to encourage women into senior ranks

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Updated

September 15, 2017 20:52:36

Tasmania’s Police Commissioner acknowledges more work is needed to encourage women to reach higher ranks in the force.

Despite a target of 50 per cent, only a third of police in the state are women.

Almost all higher ranking positions were filled by men.

Commissioner Darren Hine said the force can do better.

“We need to make sure we encourage women,” he said.

“We need to take away any barriers for women to reach the highest ranks.

“We have 32 per cent women in our sworn ranks, but we have to make sure we have no barriers to advance.”

Nearly half the class-of-2017 recruits on Friday were female.

Mr Hine said it was great to see that nine out of the 19 graduates from the academy were women.

“The junior course (at the academy) has an equal number of men and women,” he said.

“That’s what we should always strive for, because we should always try and replicate what is in the community.”

Men dominate higher ranks

Scott Tilyard holds the position of Deputy Commissioner under Chief Commissioner Darren Hine.

Under him, there are nine more assistant commissioners and commanders — all men.

Also under the chief commissioner is Donna Adams, who holds the position of Deputy Secretary.

Her team of five includes two other women, but neither are eligible to be considered for the top role.

“We have to make sure we have targeted recruiting campaigns to make sure women understand the benefits of joining Tasmania Police,” Mr Hine said.

The Police Association of Tasmania’s Pat Allen acknowledged progress is slow, but was adamant there wasn’t a culture problem.

“We don’t have the boys club that existed back in the 70s — it doesn’t exist anymore,” he said.

“It’s been a long slow process to improve, but since commissioner Hine entered the job it’s actually moving forward at a very good rate.”

Senior female officers invisible

But not everyone was convinced there was enough progress.

UTAS sociologist and gender equity expert, Dr Meredith Nash, said it was unacceptable to find men occupying a majority of senior roles in 2017.

“It’s really no surprise that you’d find significant numbers of men in the most senior levels of the police force,” Dr Nash said.

“Young women constables need to be able to see women in all areas of the police force.

“You can’t be what you can’t see.

“The police force is really important in being a role model in ensuring that women are advancing in their careers at the same rate as men.

“I’d really like to see the Tasmanian Police force take a step forward and address these issues head on.”

To celebrate 100 years of women in policing, retired inspector Lyn Jones was guest of honour at the 2017 graduation.

She took the role of reviewing officer at the ceremony at the Rokeby Academy on Friday.

She said it was encouraging to see women taking a stronger role in the force.

“I always felt that when you got in a situation which was violent a woman present calmed the situation down,” she said.

Two young women topped the graduation class.

Abbie Weidinger, 23, took home the dux and 23-year-old Josie Crowden came runner-up dux.

Topics:

police,

law-crime-and-justice,

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First posted

September 15, 2017 20:30:26



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