Here, now fully updated for the twenty-first century, is the complex and fascinating history of the formation of the British Women Police. Full of drama, intrigue and humour, it also captures, through well-authenticated primary material, the colour and manner of the times.
Remarkable women abound in this book, from the wealthy and eccentric Margaret Damer Dawson to the excitement-hungry ex-suffragette Mary Allen; and from the alluring but ill-starred Mrs Stanley to the tireless Mrs Peto. A few famous faces like Winston Churchill, Lady Astor and Adolf Hitler also feature, as does the women police’s arch-enemy: the magistrate Frederick Mead.
The pressure for the appointment of women police began well before World War I. Anti-white-slave traffic organizations felt they would help to stem the flow of prostitutes to and from Europe and suffragettes wanted them to ensure fairer treatment for women from the police and courts of law. But it was the Great War that gave them a launching pad for their battle.
Early policewomen fought much public and police prejudice, wondering all the time how far to hold out for their ideals and how much to compromise for the sake of some official recognition; the eternal problem when breaking new ground. Their story, which was played out not only in the streets and courts of Great Britain and the House of Commons but in a defeated Germany and strife-torn 1920s Ireland, as well as in prohibition-era USA, ended in victory with their official integration into the force in the 1970s, but the battle did not end there, as our story shows…