Three RCIPS women in leadership positions travelled to the UK to attend the Women in Policing Conference in London. The annual conference seeks to provide current and future female leaders in the field of policing with the skills needed to achieve success in their unique positions within the traditionally male-dominated field.
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne notes: “We are grateful to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office for facilitating this opportunity for our staff to attend this important conference. Women play invaluable roles throughout the service, and in police services around the world. The opportunity to network and gain advice and insight from women in leadership positions within police services in the UK and elsewhere will only serve to strengthen their capabilities and contributions to the police service here in Cayman.”
Deputy Chief Officer of the Office of the Commissioner of Police, Nancy Barnard; RCIPS Inspector Denise Anderson; and RCIPS Superintendent Wendy Parchment were chosen to attend the conference because of their senior roles in the service, and the various areas of the service that they represent.
The one-day Women in Policing conference took place on Wednesday, 16 November, and featured presentations on various topics such as addressing barriers to advancement, communicating effectively, leading with authenticity, raising the visibility of women as leaders within the field, and fostering positive cultural changes within the field. All three women were able to network with women in policing from various jurisdictions, sharing experiences and advice in advance of the regional Women in Policing conference early next year.
Superintendent Wendy Parchment notes: “I am elated to have engaged with several female strategic leaders within the Met Police Service where our discussions were meaningful. Visits to the various Police Stations including our meeting with female Commissioner Angela McLaren of The City of London Police Force, our twin service, gave me the reassurance of future possibilities for the women within RCIPS.”
On other days, the two police officers who attended were also given the chance to shadow officers of London’s Metropolitan Police Service in specialist roles, such as the Custody Suite and also the Control Centre, both at Charing Cross Station. The officers also attended the Network of Women where they met with senior officers who provided advice on Network formation, future aims and objectives. A special visit to Scotland Yard was also arranged. The officers attended Wapping Police Station and were given an overview of their operations including their Territorial Support Group. Both officers were privileged to learn of various types of training and equipment used on operations. The two officers also joined the Marine Team on the Thames River.
Inspector Denise Anderson adds: “I was humbled to be given the opportunity to attend the Women In Policing Conference in London. It was truly amazing to listen to the stories behind the high ranking successful women officers. It has highlighted that changes are being made in policing, however it is very slow and we need to ensure we not only equip ourselves but also encourage and motivate other women to become successful. My biggest take away was the session with Mr. Sal Naseem, Regional Director for London, Independent Office for Police Conduct and how he made it a point to understand the struggles women face in such a male-dominated organization, and things he did to help women strive.”
The group, accompanied by Project Officer Maria Stanley of the British Overseas Territories Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), also visited the Cayman Islands Government’s UK office, where they met with representative Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia and assistant representative Phillippa Knights.
DCO Barnard says: “I appreciate all the FCDO has done to include the Cayman Islands on this learning opportunity, as well as Commissioner’s Byrne’s support of gender equity. As a group, we look forward to joining other police services across the British Overseas Territories, as we locally and regionally develop our own Women in Policing Networks. It is heartening to work towards offering support, understanding, and mentorship to all our female police officers and female police (civilian) staff whilst they navigate the challenges and opportunities of being a woman in policing.”