Women now account for virtually a third of all police officers in South Yorkshire – a proportion around four per cent higher than the national average – though it is accepted more work is needed to balance the gender-gap.
Numbers of female officers have been increasing historically and in the last three months nudged up slightly, to 32.6 per cent, which is the highest proportion in the history of the force.
They now make up no less than 16.7 per cent of all ranks, a figure which reflects society far better than the representation of officers with disabilities or from ethnic minority backgrounds at more senior levels.
The figures were presented to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, by this independent ethics panel, which said in a report: “While there is still significant work to be done around female representation, these figures are far less disproportionate in relation to the higher ranks than those for ethnicity and disabled.
“The minority ethnic presence among South Yorkshire Police officers remains below that in the population served but black minority ethnic recruitment of police officers has been rising.”
At present, there are no officers above the rank of superintendent from BME backgrounds, and only one at that level.
The gender balance is reversed among police civilian staff, with more women than men in every pay grade.
The ethics panel have questioned why staff choose to leave the service and have requested more information on that.
Although it is not compulsory for those leaving to take part in exit interviews, it is hoped the panel will be provided with information given by some of those who leave on the reasons for their decision.
Paul Whitehouse , Local Democracy Reporting Service