Celebrating our female leaders this International Women's Day
On International Women’s Day this Wednesday 8 March, we are shining a light on some of our inspirational female leaders and the vital work they do locally and in their capacity as national portfolio leads.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Deputy Mayors from across England and Wales have shared their reflections on what International Women’s Day means to them and how they play a vital role in advocating for equality and in supporting women and girls.
Lisa Townsend, APCC Lead for Mental Health and PCC for Surrey
“Tackling violence against women and girls is at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan, and on International Women’s Day, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to make a real and lasting difference when it comes to this appalling crime.
“Over the course of the financial year, I have directed around £3.4million in funding towards this issue, including a £1million grant from the Home Office that will be used to support Surrey’s schoolchildren in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons. I believe that educating our children on the harms caused by this type of violence is a crucial step forward to ending the cycle of abuse.
“I will continue to work with our partners to create a county that is not only safe for women and girls, but also feels safe.
“My message to anyone suffering from violence is to call the police and report it. Surrey was one of the first in the UK to launch a violence against women and girls’ strategy, and our officers will always listen to victims and help those in need.”
Donna Jones, APCC Joint Victims Lead and PCC for Hampshire
“Today is international women’s day and this is a day to celebrate the movement and equality for women and girls across the world. This started in 1908 with over 15,000 women marching the streets of New York City now we fast forward to 2023 with almost 50,000 women employed in British policing making up over 34 per cent of the workforce.
“As a mother, as a sister as a daughter I couldn’t be prouder to be a community leader and national leader in the space that I’m in as a woman in policing. I am also the youngest and first woman to be appointed as a magistrate at the age of 27 back in 2005. Giving something back, being an inspiration and example to others is absolutely paramount so please spread the word and keep supporting equality for women across the world.”
Katy Bourne OBE, APCC Lead for Business Crime and Road Safety and PCC for Sussex
“International Women’s Day should matter to all of us. To think that less than a century ago, UK women were denied basic rights like voting and yet, today, I stand alongside intrepid female colleagues across so many sectors who give women a stronger voice.
“However, recent events have shown us that there’s still a steep hill to climb in order to tackle the culture of misogyny and sexism that pervades our society.
“I know I hold a very privileged position as Police & Crime Commissioner so I will continue to use every opportunity I can to champion women’s voices, raise visibility and create various platforms that improve policing and allow women to thrive as individuals.”
Alison Lowe OBE, APCC Lead for Race Disparity, Equality and Human Rights and Deputy Mayor for West Yorkshire
“International Women’s Day means I have a chance to honour and celebrate all the women in my life and those that have inspired me over the years.
“The day is also an opportunity to reaffirm my support for other women and to continue to offer mentoring, coaching and friendship, especially to Black women who see me as a role model.”
Joy Allen, APCC Joint Lead for Addictions and Substance Misuse and PCC for Durham
“I am proud to be the first woman PCC elected to represent the residents of County Durham and Darlington who have told me that drug use and drug dealing and speeding were amongst their top five priorities, so I was delighted when I was appointed as the national APCC Joint Lead for both Addictions and Substance Misuse and Deputy Lead for Roads Policing.
“On International Women’s Day I am proud of my team and partners who work hard each and every day to ensure women and girls living and visiting County Durham and Darlington feel safe, secure and confident to report crime. Victims of these horrendous crime know they will be taken seriously and treated sensitively by our officers when they do.”
Sophie Linden, APCC Joint Victims Lead and Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime in London
“In London, our ambition is for every woman and girl to be safe, and to feel safe – whatever the time of day and wherever they are in the capital.
“This work is driven by a comprehensive Violence Against Women & Girls strategy, which takes a public health approach – meaning all parts of society are called on to be part of the solution.
“Our commissioned services reflect the diversity of London, including many small grassroots and community-led organisations. I am also particularly proud of our work to tackle perpetrator behaviour and to intervene to break the cycles of abuse. Our role as PCCs should not just be to respond to the violence taking place, but to do all we can to help prevent it in the first place”.