WPCs Hazel Lane & Joy Halliday
Hazel and Joy were the first WPCs on Traffic Division in the then East Sussex force in the mid sixties just prior to amalgamation. The event was marked by the ‘petticoat patrol’ publicity. (They still aren’t proud of that image. They were very serious and knew that they could do the job as well as the men!!)
Hazel and Joy were the first ever all-female traffic police crew known as the
They joined the same day in November 1965 and trained at Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
They joined traffic in November 1967 and took a 1 month training course at Kent Police Driving School. It was not a time of equal opportunities and they were not treated the same as the men, they were very much noted for their novelty value.
Both passed the final test with a Class 3 result, the highest possible score on the standard course – which knocked the egos a bit for some of the men.
In January 1968 Joy and Hazel were based at HQ in their first car (index number HPM921 D), and within 6 months both were back for the advanced driving course which they both passed to Class 1 standard – the first female class 1 qualified police drivers in England.
They did exactly the same as the men in traffic, but earned less money.
There were problems encountered with being “first”:-
No white traffic uniform hats had been made specifically for women so
they painted the top of their standard issue hats with white emulsion paint
– the more they painted them, the heavier and hotter they became!
They were allowed to wear leather boots – a concession made only to the
traffic girls, and they were issued with white “point duty” arm bands as there was no high visibility uniform.
MG sports cars
MG sports cars were fun but cramped and they had to fit a lot into the cars;
Police Accident signs, traffic cones, First Aid kit, blankets, radio and camera
equipment. They also needed a broom to sweep up after accidents but they had to cut the handle to make it fit into the car.
Hazel and Joy were responsible for maintaining the cars which included de-
corroding the batteries, checking tyres, oil, water and plugs; they had to de-gunk the engine on a regular basis, swap the wheels around when needed and clean it regularly.
On one occasion Hazel gave chase after some car thieves to the local golf course and, during a bumpy ride over the grass, the exhaust fell off. Hazel and Joy abandoned the car for a while and borrowed 2 horses to continue the chase resulting in 2 arrests.
2 am one morning, all was quiet with no calls and no traffic, so the 2 WPCs met some local patrols at a crossroads. They removed all the equipment from the car and proceeded to see how many officers they could fit in the MGBGT – Hazel can’t remember the exact number but it was in double figures!
On another occasion Hazel pulled out to overtake a slower vehicle and had to take immediate action to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming car which had been masked by a dip in the road. She clipped the bank and rolled the MG onto its roof. Fortunately the damage was repaired and Hazel was totally unhurt so both were soon back on the road again.
Hazel also got a commendation for apprehending two car thieves when off-duty.
She spotted a stolen car out of the window of Joy’s flat after they’d just finished a shift, so Hazel followed them in her own VW Beetle whilst Joy phoned for back up.