Queensland Police Service launches recruiting campaign to attract more women
The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has launched a new recruiting drive to encourage more women to consider policing as a career.
In Queensland, roughly one in four police are women, and their That Could be Me Campaign, coinciding with International Women's Day, aims to bring that ratio to 50 per cent.
It's probably the best thing I've ever donePolice recruit Lauren West
Queensland Police recruit Lauren West is 10 weeks into training.
She has been immersed in driver training and learning firearms skills, communications and interviewing techniques.
With family currently in the police service, Recruit West said the job so far was pretty much matching her expectations.
"I'm probably a third generation police officer — my grandfather was in the QPS 30 years ago so it's always been in my blood," she said.
"It's always been in the back of my mind [and] now is the right time for me.
"There's a lot, obviously, that you still don't know and coming in is exciting; it's probably the best thing I've ever done."
Recruit West said she expected her job to consist mainly of street patrols, but she has quickly learned that being a police officer involves a lot of paperwork.
"I didn't think it would be quite as regimented as it is, but the fact that we're learning self-discipline is fantastic because that's what we need out on the road," she said.
"We've been here 10 weeks and we've done a whole magnitude of things.
"We've done driver training, we've done operational skills, we've touched on firearms, a lot on communication because that's one of our main areas when we're out on the road.
"It's been full on but really enjoyable; it's probably the best ten weeks we've had."
No limit on roles available to women
Superintendent Glen Katchell of Townsville, said that of the 12,000 police officers in Queensland, about 3,000 were women.
He said he was not aware of any job in the QPS that women could not do.
The old days of the suitability of a person being based on their size is long gone.Superintendent Glen Katchell
"Our organisation currently comes from a broad cross section of the community [with] diverse backgrounds and they can work in a great range of areas from stock squad to frontline duties to plain clothes," Supt Katchell said.
"In the Townsville district here, our most senior female officer is the detective inspector.
"It is extremely challenging but she continues to fulfil that role well."
Supt Katchell said size did not matter when recruiting in the QPS and said it was more about the attitude of recruits.
"We want the very best police officers on the street protecting the community, servicing the community and looking after the local community, and that's what it's all about," he said.
"I think female officers bring a unique skill set to the organisation in the way they interact with, not only colleagues but in the way they interact with, the wider community.
"The old days of the suitability of a person being based on their size is long gone."
Easy to juggle police work with family life
Sergeant Bernadette Strow joined the police service after working in administration.
She said while the That Could be Me campaign was to encourage more women to consider policing, it would not mean a change to the standards of recruiting.
"It is quite competitive [and] things aren't changing in relation to the recruiting process," Sgt Strow said.
"Everyone comes in and does an entrance exam; it's a equal level playing field now.
"If you pass that entrance exam, you then apply and you're in the merit pool and then that process continues."
Sgt Strow said like any career, policing did not suit everyone.
But she said women should not be put off thinking police work might prevent them from enjoying family life.
"The QPS is very family-friendly; I have two small children and I have been able to continue my career," Sgt Strow said.
"[There are] so many different roles within one career path that you can take to accommodate your family needs."
After 10 weeks in training, Recruit West hopes other young women will be inspired by the That Could be Me ambassadors.
"If you're even slightly considering it, I would apply straight away," she said.
"Obviously it can be a lengthy process but in the end, that career goal is worth it."
Source: ABC News