100 years since Walsall introduced Women Police

Today marks exactly 100 years since the introduction of female police officers in Walsall. After deputations of local women's groups and clergy were received by the Watch Committee, campaigning for women to be appointed as police officers in the town, the motion was passed unanimously in January 1918 that women were to be recruited.

Munitions police c1916 including Katherine Tearle top right

Two women were appointed - Katherine Tearle (above pic top right - who went on to become the first female sergeant in Walsall) and Miss Williams. Both of these women had previously worked as Munitions Police officers, policing the munitions factories and the huge number of female munitions workers who manned the factories during WW1. This was hard and dangerous work and would have stood them in good stead for policing a bustling town.

Katherine went on to become the first female sergeant, but very little is known about Miss Williams in the West Midlands Police Museum (not even her first name).

We would love to hear from anyone who knew or is related to the early female pioneers of policing in Walsall and would particularly love to see any pictures of these brave officers.

The below picture shows Sergeant Tearle in the Munitions Police 1917 and it is believed the 'Miss Williams' standing in the back row (second from left) is the same Miss Williams who joined Katherine in Walsall.

Katherine Tearle is sat third from left in the front row and Miss Williams is on the back row second from left

#walsall #munitionspolice #pioneer #katherinetearle #williams