Author(s): Valerie Redshaw
In the 19th century dedicated and benevolent wives of policemen were often vital to the stability of communities - working for no reward to assist their husbands - and it continues today in our cities, suburbs and country areas - the wives and partners of police giving incalculable support. In those early years few women served in the police force - the only positions were as matrons or female searchers. Valerie Redshaw tells many human interest stories from those early days when successive politicians and police leaders were reluctant to employ women in significant roles. It was not until 1941, during World War II, when thousands of New Zealand men were serving in the armed forces overseas, that women were finally sworn into the police force. By the end of the war in 1945 only 37 women had been trained. Today over 28% of the sworn and non-sworn officers of the New Zealand police is female. Valerie Redshaw's story of women in the Police is one that exposes their human endeavour, their resourcefulness, of long hours and determination to do the job, and covers the first 60 years since the first policewomen were appointed. New Zealand policewomen today are held in high regard by our citizens; this is the full story of their pioneers and the struggle to gain the place they proudly occupy today in our society.