"for these were in the early days of the women police"
Early American Policewoman (1918)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeEarly American Policewoman (1918) - Credit: paukrus, Flickr

The introduction of women police officers in England and Wales seems to have been a gradual and patchy process which began in 1914 with the establishment in London of the Women's Police Volunteeers (changed in 1915 to the Women's Police Service).

In a parliamentary session in 1922 Sir Edward Shortt suggested that women police officers could be dispensed with in London on the grounds that their work could be done by policemen's wives. Lady Astor retorted that policemen did not choose their wives on the basis of their suitability for patrolling streets or escorting prisoners!

It has been estimated that by 1936 there were just 175 female police officers in England and Wales.

The situation in Scotland seems less clear, although it is known that the first policewoman in Glasgow was appointed in 1915.