The Metropolitan Police and Federation have been discussing the legacy of PC Karpal Kaur Sandhu the force’s first female Asian police officer, to mark the 50th Anniversary of her joining the Job.
Karpal joined the Met in 1971 at the age of 27, where she served at Hornsey Police Station before moving to Leyton.
During that time there were only 700 female officers in the Met and Karpal was both the first female Sikh and female Asian police officer in the UK.
Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said: “PC Karpal Kaur Sandhu was a true pioneer and ahead of her time.
“I have no doubt that her decision to join the Met Police in 1971 was a brave one and she would have faced considerable challenges along the way.”
Belinda Goodwin – Interim Equality and Diversity Lead for the Metropolitan Police Federation – said: “I can’t imagine what it would have been like 50 years ago, the bravery and tenacity it must have taken in a white male dominated organisation must have been huge.
“She’s set a stall out and paved the way, allowing women from different ethnic backgrounds to feel empowered.”
Belinda added – 50 years on – there was still some more work to do on increasing diversity in policing.
She added: “I would like to see females from different ethnic backgrounds in higher ranks, throughout the Met and other forces.
“We now see a handful of females from different backgrounds in higher ranks but we’re still not where we should be and there’s so much more work to be done.
“It’s about trust, if someone sees an organisation which represents everyone, female and male, from different ethnic backgrounds, then people have more trust and belief that they can pursue the career they want.
“We need to keep on highlighting the good work from someone like Karpal who trailblazed 50 years ago and also the women that are doing that today.”
Ravjeet Gupta, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association, said: “Today, together with representatives from the Met’s Sikh Association, Met police officers and staff and the wider Sikh community, we remember Karpal’s special contribution to policing, as the UK’s first female Asian and Sikh police officer.”
Sadly Karpal was killed in 1973 by her husband – who objected to her being a police officer.