“It is very hard for the younger policewomen in the force now because to me it is getting worse. It is like the senior officers just expect the junior ranks to be intimate with them, even worse is like some females just expect and accept it.
“And you know in the past we use to have senior female police officers going around and asking female ranks about their working conditions and if they facing sexual harassment, but not anymore. That is a thing of the past.”
These were the words of a woman who has been a police officer for all of her working life and while she has not attained the rank she believes she deserves she is still concerned about her female sisters in the force.
I have known her for years and have always admired her professionalism even though initially she came across as someone who one would be afraid to approach as she always had a stern facial expression. When she began the conversation, I asked whether I could publish it and she acceded but cautioned me to ensure that her identity was not revealed.
“I see people come in the force after me and move pass me and I would hear the rumours about what they did to get there. Because, remember, a commander of a division can promote up to a sergeant and so at times women get intimate to get promote.
“But I am not vex or anything but is more like I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for us as women in the force because I had my share and I would stand up to them and maybe is because of how I stay I still at this rank,” the woman said.
“But you know I wish we could go back to the days when senior female officers cared for their junior ranks. It is not the case now is more like dog eat dog situation. Because of my age a lot of women would come to me and talk and tell me what is happening but me not senior, I can’t do much but to listen,” she said sadly.
“Now the senior officers more concerned with people hairstyle and how they mustn’t get long nails and how they skirt too short or too tight,” she said with an angry shake of the head.
“Is like them things more important than really helping women in the force to feel safe and to feel respected.
“Look I not telling you lie I remember female officers going around to stations and talking to female ranks asking them how they feel working and if anybody sexually harassing them. And if a woman complain that maybe the commander or a senior officer doing something they don’t like you would just see a letter come and saying that the person transfer.
“Even the senior officer would be like surprise and say to the rank that they never ask for them to be transfer and they don’t know wah happen but that is how it use to happen then.
“But not anymore and if you know sometimes it does hurt me and then I does get really vex with them senior female officers because the things them following up is just to make life more difficult for women in the force instead of it getting better,” she said.
I asked her if she believed the transferring of the rank was the best option as opposed to the offending rank being sanctioned.
“Hear, I know in the normal world people would say is the male officer should be transferred and so and I agree but is not so in the police world. You know when the female ranks share wah happening to them asking for it to be confidential because they still want the job.
“So the best thing to do is just move them to a better place because to move the senior it might be more difficult and sometimes you have to find a reason. Now the minute it get out that you talk is like you do something wrong and even other female officers go start bad talking you,” she explained.
“So, the best thing is to move the rank and help to find a better station for her to work at.
“Now the minute you even try to complain is like them female officers does just pick up the phone and call and say what you want and is like you career done because the word getting around. That is why sometimes I does say that some a them not fit to be female officers,” she said angrily.
“Everybody know that the force is not the best place for women, I not saying it is all bad but if you talk to a lot of women police officer they would tell you the fight down they get just for sex at times. The first thing them senior police does want know if they see somebody they like if they marry or living home and sometimes that and all don’t save you,” she shared.
“And don’t get me wrong I know women all over does get the same problem but is like in the force is a normal thing, is like both men and women does accept it as normal. But not me I can’t accept that and that is why I does really get mad when I see some of the things happening.”
I asked her about her experiences as a woman in the force but she was not inclined to share although she did indicate earlier (as is seen above) that she has had some bad ones.
“I don’t even know how I come to bring this up but it been getting to me and I know you does write about women, so I just want to share and because at times is like when I talk with some other ranks they don’t understand.
“They don’t get it is like they does ask me if the male officers raping the women and for them once is not rape and is two big people that is all. I can’t explain that is more than that to them, I can’t explain sometimes why it wrong, like I don’t find the right words and when I try they don’t get it still,” she said sadly.
“I know a lot of women who don’t want to do it but is like they feel they have to do it and then you have other female ranks encouraging them and telling them that they go get promote or sometimes they just don’t want get transfer and be away from them children. And that could happen if you don’t give in; you get transfer and you have to find people to take care of your children.
“But that is how it goes, I come and find it suh and I will leave it suh and it guh be suh for a long time to come I guess. But if I had make it to a senior officer I know I woulda do something, at least just try to help some women to make life better for them in the force. But as I does say such is life…” she said this with a sort of finality.
We started to talk about other things. There was so much more I wanted to know but she was not keen, maybe on another occasion when we meet.