Probationary constable Mia Green at the Lismore Police Station.
Probationary constable Mia Green at the Lismore Police Station. Marc Stapelberg

Hairdresser to police officer: the women of the force

HAIRDRESSING couldn't be further removed from drawing your gun on a criminal, but Mia Green is more than up to the task.

The 24-year-old, who grew up at Kingscliff, joined the ranks of the Richmond Local Area Command last December as a probationary constable.

When she was 20 and working as a hairdresser and a duty manager at a hotel, Ms Green decided on a career change.

"It was four years from when I decided to join the police force until when I started on the job," she said.

"I was very lucky to be sent to the Richmond LAC for my first posting."

Ms Green said training at the Goulburn police academy helped prepare her for the diversity of the job.

"Every day in the job is different," she said. "I enjoy the challenges of working in a team environment, the variety of work and the opportunity for career progression."

"Not taking that emotion of other people's situations on board is key.

"You deal with the worst things in life, but when someone brings in a bunch of flowers to say thank you for saving my husband's life that makes it so rewarding."

HOW FAR WE'VE COME

POLICING in NSW has come a long way in 227 years when there were no female officers in the ranks and John Smith was appointed as the first constable by Governor Arthur Phillip.

For the next 127 years, through the convict era, gold rush period and the the days when bushrangers held up stage coaches, policing was a male-only profession.

In 1915 the first women joined the ranks of the NSW police force when Lillian Armfield and Maude Rhodes were appointed as Special Constables.

They didn't carry guns or handcuffs, didn't wear uniforms and were restricted to work in schools lecturing, or helping detectives with crimes affecting women.

It was 1948 before women were allowed to wear uniform, and almost 20 years later before they were sworn in as constables like male officers.

In 1965, 58 women joined the ranks as constables, with full police powers, but it wasn't until 1979 that they were routinely allowed to carry guns.

Today, women represent 27% of sworn officers in the NSW police force, including the state's highest ranking female, Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn.

BATON RELAY & POLICING ROADSHOW

The relay was launched in March and is travelling across the state, visiting the Tweed Byron and Richmond police commands on June 10 and 12 respectively.

Each command holds a 3-5km relay with local participants.

The relay will be accompanied by a roadshow showcasing the history of women in the NSW Police Force.



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