Saturday 20 February 2021

Durham County Constabulary's first girl police cadets : March 1959

Picture shows The Chief Constable (Mr A.A. Muir) showing County Durham’s girl police cadets weapons from the force’s Black Museum.

The text below is from the newspaper article with the picture from March 1959

“Six girl police cadets, were the first in the Durham County Constabulary were on parade at the Aycliffe HQ yesterday to meet the Chief Constable (Mr A.A. Muir).
Most of them joined the force last month and they were wearing their new uniforms. These are the same as those of County Durham policewomen except the cadets have berets instead of hats.
Mr Muir joking about the smartness of the berets, said he would probably have to change the policewomen over to them as well. He did in fact have the Durham policewomens uniform changed to a more feminine style about six months ago. The tunic now has fewer pockets and no belt. Later white blouses may replace collars & ties.
The six cadets , all grammar school girls were chosen by Mr Muir and Miss S Finlay the policewoman Superintendant from about 40 applicants.
They are Eileen Jackson from Darlington who is stationed at the Aycliffe Headquarters, Susan Tait from gateshead stationed at Whickham, Elizabeth Garry at Darlington, Kathleen Wood from Wolsingham at Hartlepool, Sheila Colter at Consett and Valerie Welsh, still at school.
Kathleen Wood is 18 and the others 17. Sheila Colter is the daughter of a policeman, Insp. P.H. Colter of Consett
The girls have so far been doing clerical and recording work in the police offices, but later they will be going out with policewomen on visits and interviews. Kathleen Wood said she enjoyed every minute of it. Eillen Jackson said she had always wanted to join the police force since she was ten, anyway "I really like it"
Hitherto a girl wishing to join the police force in County Durham has had to wait until she was 20, and perhaps take another job in the meantime and at 20 the constabulary has been unable to recruit enough girls of the right type. The cadet scheme is intended to fill the gap.”

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