West Yorkshire Police chief hits back at critics after revealing initiative for female-only training classes for officers

A police chief has defended her force running women-only classes to train female officers to break into crime scenes.

Chief Inspector Helen Brear, of West Yorkshire Police, said female-only classes helped female officers train more confidently

Chief Inspector Helen Brear, of West Yorkshire Police, shared images of the female officers taking part in a 'method of entry' training, where officers use battering rams to break down doors and gain emergency access to properties.

The training exercise was undertaken at the force's Carrgate headquarters, near Wakefield, earlier this week, as the police chief tweeted they had "listened to our workforce" and sought to "remove barriers" to ensure all staff had access to training.

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But not everyone was supportive of the initiative, as many critics responded asking what the benefit was to training for women-only – with some even asking if there were male-only sessions.

Women used battering rams to break down doors as it was revealed fewer than 5% of officers trained to do so are female. Picture: Twitter/@WYP_HBrear

Chief Insp Brear has since hit back at critics, revealing that fewer than five per cent of officers trained to break down doors in West Yorkshire Police are currently women, and that by creating women-only classes, female officers were more likely to attend and train with confidence.

"The method of entry business area is predominantly resourced by males which perpetuates the perception that women are not suited to perform this activity," she said.

"These taster sessions allowed women to have a go at using the door ram and hoolibar to break top, middle and bottom door locks having had tuition on correct technique over brute strength.

"Everyone successfully dispatched all three locks, building their confidence and changing their own perceptions of their capabilities."

Women used battering rams to break down doors as it was revealed fewer than 5% of officers trained to do so are female. Picture: Twitter/@WYP_HBrear

She added that women on the course had expressed "how more at ease they were in a same sex environment".

The bespoke female-only classes, she said, were derived following consultations with underrepresented groups in the police force, such as female and ethnic minority officers.

Police forces across the country are on a drive to recruit more police officers in line with the Home Office's recent announcement to fund 20,000 more.

Many forces have been directly encouraging more women and ethnic minority people to consider applying in order to better represent the communities they serve.

Some 46 per cent of West Yorkshire Police's entire workforce are women, according to its most recent gender gap report, although when it comes to the frontline, women only make up 36 per cent of all officers.