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100 years ago: Saving the women police

by
01 April 2022

March 31st, 1922.

THE lady members of the House of Commons gave a good account of themselves on Tuesday night, and had very much the best of their argument with the Home Secretary. Lady Astor raised the question of the dismissal of the women police patrols, and had no difficulty in proving that the women police have done very useful work at a very small cost. She made a good point when she reminded the Home Secretary that in deciding to abolish them he was acting against the advice of his own committee of inquiry, of fifty-one out of fifty-seven chief constables who had been asked to give their views, and of Sir N. Macready, who so greatly approved of the women police that he recommended a wide extension of their powers. Lady Astor pointed out that the whole staff of women police cost only as much as twenty-five mounted policemen; Mrs Wintringham added that their cost was only one two-hundred-and-fiftieth part of the cost of the whole force. Mr Shortt, who returned again and again to the minor point of the cost and splendour of the uniforms of the women police, had little else to say. He was, in effect, briefed by the Geddes Committee, but he was unable to prove that any economy worth the name would be effected, since, as was pointed out to him, certain standing charges will necessarily be continued, and, as he him self had to admit, women will still have to be paid to do a considerable part of the work of the suppressed women police. The Home Secretary seems to have committed himself to the position that it is the business of the Church, unassisted by the State, to look after morality. We invite Mr Shortt to search the statute book to see if Parliament has acted upon this principle in the past, and to consider how far this argument would lead him, in regard to the functions both of the Church and of the State.

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