More than 500 people went along to our first women-only recruitment event to find out more about what it means to be a woman in today’s Police.
The event at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) last weekend featured demonstrations, opportunities to speak to Police staff and an expo in the gym highlighting a range of workgroups.
These included Public Safety Team, Search and Rescue, Road Policing, Youth Aid, CIB, Recruiting, Forensics, ICT, Comms, NZTA and the Police Infringement Bureau.
Minister of Police Stuart Nash, Porirua Mayor Mike Tana, Police Commissioner Mike Bush and other members of the Police Executive came along to support the event.
“It was a fantastic day – the buzz was so positive and the mood was electric,” says Detective Sergeant Sonya Douglas, who led a team from the Women’s Advisory Network group at the RNZPC in organising the event.
“This was a positive, proactive and interactive event to encourage women to join Police by chatting with other women. We wanted to break down any real or perceived barriers.
“We know that if we’re going to achieve our target of 50 percent women in Police we need to show women they are wanted and needed.
“To better reflect the communities we serve and to instil trust and confidence, Police needs to attract and recruit more women.”
Recruits and newly graduated officers talked to visitors about life at college and as a new constable, alongside experienced officers talking about their roles.
There were two Armed Offenders Squad demonstrations involving four female officers in an area of policing which is perceived as very male-dominated.
There was a demonstration of the Physical Competency Test – the fitness test for operational officers – and the opportunity for have a go and speak to Physical Training Officers about what’s required.
Sonya says the physical requirements can deter women from even applying, but the aim was to show women to understand they are not a barrier – they are achievable and support is available.
“We wanted to show things have changed, women can do whatever role they want to do in Police and be accepted and valued for the diversity they bring,” she says. “The day helped people see that many women are working in Police – from detectives to AOS members to community cops - and think ‘if they can do it, I can do it!”