Marking police milestone

Jacqui Jenkins sets up an exhibition at the Old Police Cells Museum for the 100th anniversary of women in the police
Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney

A FREE exhibition is taking place to celebrate 100 years of women in Sussex Police.

This week the Old Police Cells Museum underneath Brighton Town Hall examines the female role in the force.

It looks to celebrate the success of their journey “from marginalised childminders to front-line protectors” of the community.

It is sponsored by Evolve, Sussex Police’s women’s network group, celebrating the heritage, contribution and achievement of women in Sussex, who have served as police officers since 1915.

The exhibition features written-word extracts from interviews, newspaper cuttings, historical photographs and the varied kit women were given through the ages.

Phil Armstrong, one of the museum’s guides said: “There’s a lot of information there and we are looking forward to a lot more people coming through the door.”

On his memories of women in the police, he added: “It was a gradual revolution – it wasn’t until the 1980s that they were even paid the same.”

The museum covers all the forces that came together in 1967 to form Sussex Police, with uniforms on display, cell reconstructions and the scene where a chief constable was infamously murdered in 1844.

Earlier this year Evolve challenged 100 women – both staff and volunteers – from all ranks and roles across Sussex Police, to come together for a historical photo shoot.

The photograph was taken on April 9 with Chief Constable Giles York and Katy Bourne, the police and crime commissioner, among others.

PCC Katy Bourne said: “This important anniversary isn’t just a retrospective look back; it’s a celebration of the achievements of all female officers and staff who formerly or currently serve our communities in Sussex.

“Although the number of women in policing is increasing steadily, achieving a gender balance – particularly among the senior ranks – it is still a challenge.”

Sussex Police has a female deputy chief constable as well as several female chief inspectors and superintendents.

Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Evolve has done a great job of organising various events to mark this milestone.

“Here’s to the next hundred years of women doing great things in the force.”

Two weeks ago, the Old Police Cells Museum itself celebrated a milestone; it marked its tenth anniversary.

Volunteers of the museum and original tour guides from the past were invited to the mayor’s parlour for a get-together before a viewing of the pictures on show in the exhibition.

The group included museum founder Pat Drake and the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field, who is also the museum’s president.

The exhibition runs from today until Friday, from 10.30am until 1.30pm each day. The museum also normally runs pre-booked tours from 10.30am, Tuesday to Saturday. Call 01273 291052 to book.


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