Wednesday, 7th March, 2018
By Myles Burt
Female police officers in Broken Hill are celebrating their achievements as International Women’s Day approaches tomorrow.
Inspector Yvette Smith has been with the NSW Police Force for 21 years and had wanted to be an officer ever since she was a child.
“When I joined, the only career aspiration I had was to be an inspector, and I’m there now.”
She has worked in the country and city as a specialist, general duties officer, domestic violence officer, negotiator and in the intelligence unit.
Insp. Smith said the police force offered her a huge variety of opportunities over her career and encouraged women to join.
NSW Police last year consisted of 34.9 percent women.
“We are number one for female officers in the whole of Australia, which is fantastic.
“But we’d always like more.”
Leading Senior Constable Vanessa Peate who previously worked in the Central Hunter LAC, chose to make the change to the Western Region where her move is starting to pay off.
“It’s been great out in the country, there’s heaps of different opportunities for me,” she said.
“I recently just got a promotion to go to the detectives where in the city it’s quite hard to progress your career.”
L/Snr Cst. Peate said she has learnt and experienced so much from being in Broken Hill.
She hadn’t come across many aboriginal people in her work before coming to the Silver City.
“Which was an eye opener for me to learn their cultures and their ways, and respect them as well.
“I feel really close to some aboriginal people in the community and our ACLO’s, which are our liaison officers, they do a great job.”
Senior Constable Renee Paulo who has flown over from Surry Hills in Sydney for a few days of relief work said that she finds women are very prominent within forensics.
“I think I’m really lucky that in forensics in particular I’ve noticed that there are a lot of women,” she said.
“I would say we far outnumber the men in our section, particularly crime scene work.
“Kind of empowering to know that they are really encouraging for women to join.”
Snr Cst. Paulo said she’s not sure why women gravitate more towards crime scene work, but finds it quite different to walk into an office with eight women in a room and one or two men, as opposed to it generally being even.
She said she previously had no aspirations to be a police officer and fell into the role through her interest in forensics.
“That’s where the jobs were for criminal investigation and crime scenes,” she said.
“I haven’t regretted it and would definitely recommend it ... I love my job.”
Barrier LAC’s Sergeant Mary-Frances Fede, based in Wilcannia, has been in the police force for 22 years.
She moved to the Far West from Sydney and has been loving her work ever since.
“Love it, I chose to come here and was over the moon when I got offered a job here in Wilcannia,” she said.
Sgt. Fede said she has seen an increase in women applying for the force, saying even though you don’t see as many around, a great amount are applying within other sections of the police.
“I think the opportunities for us has improved a lot more ... so yeah definitely a vast improvement as far as I’m concerned.”
Even though Sgt Fede said she had been offered good jobs in the past outside of policing, she enjoys her work too much to stop now.
“It’s a great job, I can’t see myself doing anything else.”