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Breaking down stereotypes: MetGirlz inspires young women to consider policing careers by showing what women across Met do every day

MetGirlz is a programme founded by female officers in the Met to inspire young women to consider a career in policing while breaking down some of the stereotypes the exist between police and young people in London.

On Friday 18 August in Hendon, officers celebrated the graduation of 18 young women from north London who have taken part in a week-long initiative to see the breadth of roles and opportunities that a career in policing has to offer.

This follows a cohort of 47 girls who graduated last Friday 11 August, part of the same MetGirlz initiative held in south London.

At the graduation ceremonies, which invited the families of the young women along, they heard about the different pathways into the job and were presented with a certificate to thank them for their time and dedication to their futures.

The project is aimed at women and girls aged between 17 and 20 who have shown an interest in policing, criminology or uniformed services, to show them the Met through the eyes of female officers.

Over the course of both of the week long programmes, the young women were taken on a tour of the organisation – visiting the Marine Support Unit, the police dogs and their handlers, the police horses and the Mounted Branch, took part in Officer Safety Training and visited Public Order officers in Gravesend.

By showing what women across the Met do every day, this initiative looks to breakdown stereotypes and encourage those from diverse backgrounds to join the police.

This project has been reignited by youth engagement officers Karen Brown and Claire Argyle, who wanted to make a real difference to both the relationship that the police have with young women and to open their eyes to the opportunities offered by a career in the Met.

PC Karen Brown, who founded the summer programme, said: “I wanted to give young women at the start of their careers the opportunity to see the variety of roles that the Metropolitan Police has to offer – an opportunity that I wished I had. I joined the Met quite late in my career, and I know if had the chance to go back I would have joined as soon as I could.

“Being able to build trust with such brilliant young women in communities across London, and inspire them to think of a different career, has been truly amazing and rewarding and I am excited to see where we can take the programme next.”

PC Claire Argyle, who led the roll out of the MetGirlz initiative, said: “We wanted to put young women from diverse backgrounds at the front and centre of this project. Often for young people living in London, their only experience of interacting with police is when things around them are going wrong.

“Welcoming their questions around why police operate the way they do, what it takes to join the service as a woman (‘what’s the fitness test like?!’), and giving these bright young women the chance to meet officers from all walks of the Met, we hope to change their perception of the service.

“This is the second year of running this programme that has seen more than 70 girls taking part. It has been really special to give so many amazing young women the opportunity to see the diversity of roles that the Met has to offer – and to speak to officers and staff about how they got here and what they love about their jobs. We want to increase the representation of women in the Met, especially those from diverse backgrounds that can bring so much to policing.”

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, who joined the girls at the graduation ceremony on Friday and had the honour of giving them their certificates, said: “The MetGirlz programme is a brilliant initiative that allows us to work with young women who are thinking about their future, building positive relationships and showcasing the best of what the Met has to offer. I’m so impressed by these young women – by their commitment to the programme, their achievements and their openness to learn more about a career in policing. We are so pleased to have worked with them.

“Under our New Met for London plan, we are striving to improve how we listen to communities, to build trust, reduce crime and ensure we always have high standards. This programme is another fantastic example of the way we can work with communities to deliver the Met Londoners want and deserve.”

(Source: Metropolitan Police)

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