This film is part of Free

Woman Police Officer in Buckfastleigh

Pam is the new police constable in the village of Buckfastleigh

Current affairs 1977 3 mins

In partnership with:

Logo for The Box


TV reporter John Doyle visits Buckfastleigh to talk to the area’s first woman police constable, Pam. The residents and officer discuss the new opportunity. Women have been associated with policing since the 1880s, with roles as matrons or wives of police officers who volunteered at local stations. The Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Act of 1975 allows women to be admitted to the police force on equal terms to their male counterparts. 

The Women’s Volunteer Police was founded in 1914 in London by Nina Boyle and Margaret Dawson, Edith Smith became the first police constable in England in 1915. The WVP was associated with militant feminist causes and Dawson left to form the Women’s Police Service. The National Women’s Council formed a branch entitled the Special Women’s Patrol Committee overseen by Sofia Stanley. In 1923 women are given the power of arrest and are able to be sworn in as constables. In 1937 women police officers are allowed to take fingerprints and in the 1970s women can become dog handlers.