HEARING from female police officers across the world has inspired nine local police officers from Mount Isa – including officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Renee Hanrahan.
The locally based police officers travelled to the International Women and Law Enforcement Conference held in Cairns in September. There had been 1000 delegates from across 60 countries in attendance in their official dress code.
Senior Sergeant Hanrahan was most interested in learning from speakers who had advanced policing programs in Redfern, NSW. She wondered how it could be reapplied to Mount Isa. One of the programs was called ‘Never Going Back’ which targeted inmates who served their sentence by encouraging them not to return to prison.
“They get that self worth and can see the value in their community and see the harm that’s created in their community with the idea ‘I’m never going back into custody’. They have had a great deal of success with that.”
Mount Isa police also heard about the struggles some of their global colleagues face.
In some places female officers are not permitted to wear the same equipment their male colleagues wear on the field. In one country represented at the conference female and male police stations are kept separate.
“They have no contact with each other,” Senior Sergeant Hanrahan said.
“There are male police and female police and they deal with different problems. Some things are deemed a female officer’s problem.
“We consider ourselves to have to make a lot of advancements to make and we look at those countries and go ‘wow’. They are looking at how progressive we are...and certainly they have a much longer and further path in front of them.”
When Senior Sergeant Hanrahan talks about advancements the Queensland Police Service needs to make, she refers to a need to increase diversity.
The QPS released its two year plan to increase ethnicity and increase the percentage of women among its officers. 27 per cent of QPS’s workforce are women, but the percentage decreases to nine per cent for commissioned ranks of Inspector or above.
“A lot of things are being done to change some of the inhibitors to those numbers, such as looking at the way we make training available, the way we make placements available when you get your position, looking at telecommuting options, portability options with technology to allow you to balance those better,” Senior Sergeant Hanrahan said.
“That’s the fabulous thing about this job. Once you get in there are 100 jobs within the job. So you can always look at finding something else or finding a fit, or it will grow as your life changes.”