Montserrat is now the third British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean to launch its Women in Policing Network (WiPN).
On Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Dr. Nick Caveney signed the policy to approve the mandate of the Royal Montserrat Police & Fire (RMPF) Association of Women in Policing.
He said it was necessary for the local service to become a more gender-responsive organisation, free of sexual harassment, while promoting equity and fairness. Dr. Caveney commended everyone who attended the brief ceremony as a sign they were in support of the new association’s vision to promote gender equality.
Inspector Jessica Sweeney said the committee formed in May 2023, “began with a singular goal: increasing women’s participation in organizational activities, as we lacked representation.:
She shared that following the attendance of herself and Inspector Chantel Hussey to a women’s conference in Houston, they were energized to form a local chapter of the network and work towards the 30 by 30 initiative to increase the representation of women in policing by 30% by 2030. Only 18%of the local service are women.
Management has approved the association’s target of increasing women’s representation in the RMPS to 35% by 2028.
Calling the establishment of the network a “milestone event”, Maria Stanley, who is the gender mainstreaming lead seconded to the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) commended Commissioner Caveney and Superintendent Huddlestone for championing the initiative. She also commended the work of Inspectors Sweeney and Hussey for bringing the plans to fruition.
Stanley told the gathering that over the past year, the push by the FCDO to set up networks in all territories was a “strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns part of the considerations in all policies and procedures so that women and men benefit equally.
“The ultimate goal is for women and girls in all parts of society to have voice, choice and agency and enjoy the same rights as men. Because that is what it all boils back down to – we are all part of this policing world to make society a better place and right now, women and girls are not getting fair or equal treatment in any part of society, but especially in gender-based crimes such as domestic assault, sexual assault, and rape.
“Looking across the globe, areas where women and girls are experiencing equal rights, they all started by forming women’s networks to set out strategies and incorporating women’s rights into policy and ensuring that women’s voices were heard and raised the profile of gender crimes and the subsequent challenges faced by female victims,” Stanley stated.
Since the inception of the program, women from OTs have been able to:
- Attend international conferences where they hear from inspirational women and make connections with other women around the world who can mentor and support them with their career journey
- Attend bespoke women’s leadership programmes with other OT women
- Participate in coaching and mentoring programmes
- Access to Policing Insight for all OT staff
Turks & Caicos Islands and Cayman launched their networks earlier in 2023. The goal, Stanley added, is to see networks in each OT.
The RMPF Association of Women in Policing comprises policewomen, fire women and women civilian staff of the police and fire service. Their motto is “In unity we stand, hand in hand, respect and equity we demand.”
The Executive team is:
Vice Chair – Inspector Chantal Hussey
Secretary – Constable Sophia Grange
Assistant Secretary – Constable Anna-Kay Miss Turner
Treasurer – Constable Laurell Allen
FCDO and the Conflict, Stability & Security Fund (CSSF) are funding the establishment of the networks.