Friday 29 July 2016

Amazing Length Of Service: Longest Serving Female Police Officer In UK Celebrates 40 Years’ Service

Via - Metropolitan Police Service

The longest serving female police officer marked an astounding 40 years’ service with a night shift in Lewisham.

PC Karen Giles first joined the Met on 12 July 1976 where she was posted to Plumstead Division, armed with just a cape and a handbag at just 18 years old. 

Looking back on her service, PC Giles remembers a careers talk at school which inspired her to join the police and start her profession as a Woman Police Constable.

When PC Giles first joined the police, women had only just been fully integrated into the Met. This was due to the Equal Pay Act and the disbanding of the separate Womens’ Police Department.

On 12 December 1980, Karen and her colleagues were each issued with their own set of handcuffs. Whilst male officers carried them in their trouser pockets, female officers carried theirs in their shoulder bags.

In 1980 she was posted to Peckham and has since been working on a response team in Lewisham for the past 18 years.

PC Giles has been involved in major policing events. She was on duty for the Royal Wedding in 1981, the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees in 2002 and 2012. She has also policed most of London’s football grounds.

In 1981 she experienced the sharpest ends of policing having been involved in policing the Brixton Riots and was first on scene of an IRA car bombing in Dulwich.

When PC Giles gave birth to her daughter she returned to full time shift work after just nine weeks; she was one of the first women to do this. Many thought it was not possible to carry out police duties as a mother. Undeterred she remained at work and later had a son. She even managed to find time to study for, and obtain two degrees from the Open University.

PC Karen Giles, said: "There have been so many changes in the past 40 years', the biggest being the changes in law. When the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 came into being, everything changed. Before that we just had to learn Judges Rules, which was far more straightforward.

"I enjoy being a police officer and I believe in what we do, with this in mind I have no plans to retire any time soon."

Join us in congratulating Karen on her remarkable achievement!

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