I joined Northern Constabulary in August 1998 when I was a fresh-faced 21-year-old.
During my time in Northern Constabulary, Grampian Police and now Police Scotland, I have encountered many remarkable, inspiring women.
As today is International Women’s Day, I wanted to celebrate these women – and also our male colleagues who support and advocate for gender equality.
Having more than 20 years’ service in the police, I have held a wide variety of roles.
At one point, stationed in Brae, Shetland, I was the most northerly serving female officer in the UK.
I have been part of the Public Order Team, including providing assistance and resilience during the riots in London in 2011.
I have also been a detective and dealt with some horrific incidents, but also had the privilege to be able to provide comfort, reassurance and resolution to the people involved.
And I have worked in urban and rural areas – each with their own unique challenges, but in both, you try to do your best and make a difference.
Early in my career, there were few other female officers – and even fewer of any seniority.
The police service has come on leaps and bounds since the 1990s in representing the diverse communities we serve, and I now have the pleasure of working with equal numbers of male and female officers who all work together and support each other to help keep the public safe.
There is no role or rank in Police Scotland which a woman cannot attain, and I am extremely proud to be part of an organisation where so many women make such a positive impact on the communities we serve.
And it’s not just within Police Scotland that I have met inspiring women.
Some of those brave women have been victims of crime but others are perpetrators who wanted to change. These women were strong enough to speak out and ask for help, and take the steps needed to change their lives.
This trait runs through International Women’s Day 2021 this year, with a theme of #ChooseToChallenge – “from challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge”.
I am thankful to have continued support, to this day, from both the men and women I work with however I appreciate that this is not always the case for everyone in the workplace, and would encourage people to challenge discrimination of any kind if they are victim to or witness this.
It is also important to challenge your own thoughts and actions too. If there is anything I have learned during my career, it’s that being open-minded and kind can get surprising results.
If you are interested in finding out more about a career in policing please visit the recruitment section of the Police Scotland website and look out for events, such as the Women’s Recruitment Event on March 18.
A career with the police is open to everyone and all police officers have access to the same opportunities for progression, development and promotion, regardless of gender or age.