Police studying call to raise number of women officers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 February, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 February, 1993, 12:00am

POLICE are considering whether it is feasible to increase the proportion of women officers from 12 per cent to 20 per cent.

A police source said the force was also studying data collected over the past few months to see how to better utilise the 3,000 female officers.

Its analysis would include examining the overall deployment of policewomen in various formations, their roles and their overall number.

''In Singapore, the level of women in the force stands at about 15 per cent and they are looking to adjust that to 20 per cent,'' the source said.

''However, in the UK it is believed hiring more women would not be economical.'' The UK ratio is similar to Hongkong's. Women were considered more expensive because of maternity leave and the general natural wastage among female staff.

The idea of recruiting more women is one of 42 recommendations put forward by a government group set up last year to study staff recruitment and retention problems.

Latest figures show that this year's overall recruitment will be at least three times better than last year's.

The force is confident that it will recruit 1,796 new members by the end of this financial year.

A senior officer explained that this was because 1,676 recruits had already been sent to the training school and there was still a last batch of 120 expected next month.

Of the new intake, 512 are women, compared with 295 last year. They will push the ratio of females to just over 12 per cent.

The officer said that although this year's total number of recruits would fall behind the annual target by nine per cent, it would still compare favourably with last year's 30 per cent shortfall, when the police attracted only 1,455 new members.

''Things are generally looking better this year. If we just look at the total number of applications, the improvement is obvious.

''There were more than 8,400 applications until last month, which was 250 more than the same period last year,'' the senior officer said.

The increase in recruitment is believed to have been prompted by improved pay announced last May.

Despite better recruitment results the officer warned that they still had to tackle the average monthly wastage rate of 125, caused by officers who have resigned, retired or transferred to other departments.