Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex

Sussex Archaeological Society, 2000 (updated 2016)

Data copyright © Sussex Archaeological Society unless otherwise stated


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https://doi.org/10.5284/1000334
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Sussex Archaeological Society (2016) Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000334


Antipathy to ambivalence: Politics and women police in Sussex, 1915–45

By DEREK OAKENSEN

The genesis of women's entry into policing can be found in social changes generated by the First World War and by the pre-war women’s suffrage movement. But acceptance and integration were entirely different matters. Quite apart from any fear of proponents’ political motivation, the idea that women should be allowed to patrol the streets represented a fundamental challenge to long-standing orthodoxies. Real decision-making power lay, in any case, with antipathetic police authorities and chief constables of the six forces in the county rather than with central government; and lobbying, however well-organised, could take years to precipitate change. What emerged were six distinct approaches which changed with time over the following 30 years. But, in most of Sussex, decision-makers remained ambivalent: the notion that women could be constables and a permanent feature of policing structures was not to be finally settled until well after 1945.

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