Presentation on theme: "Women in the police forces: a brief history of a struggle for better working conditions Paulo Santos (ASPP/PSP National Secretary) ASSOCIAÇÃO SINDICAL."— Presentation transcript:
women in the police forces: a brief history of a struggle for better working conditions Paulo Santos (ASPP/PSP National Secretary) ASSOCIAÇÃO SINDICAL DOS PROFISSIONAIS DA POLÍCIA
Women have been on Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) since 1930, although then their tasks were, for many years, only confined to provide assistance and surveillance to women and children. Only in 1980 women could be candidates to the PSP with the same requirements as men. Until middle 90’s, PSP women were made to use skirts and shoes with heels on duty, even when patrolling the streets.
There are 2152 women on PSP, divided as follow by professional careers: 105 officials (11,4%), 213 chiefs (9,1%) and 1292 (7,3%) agents. The evolution of the women number on duty on PSP has been slow and it is practically frozen since 2006, with an increase of only 0,6%, being now around 9,9% in a total of 21825 police officers.
All the members of superior directing board are men, and the same is verified in most of the cases on the intermediate boards. We must remind and enhance that the number of women graduated (11,34%) is the double of men (5,37%). Women are predominantly working behind desks, to avoid work by shifts (allowing them to find a better way to conciliate work and family lives).
Operationally, there is a perception that women have some constraints. Concerning the uniforms and protection materials, the PSP has no special concern with the women specific necessities, having in mind that there are no bulletproof vests for women in the Portuguese police. Studies indicate the need of these equipment's to be structurally designed to the female anatomy, although, the ones we have aren’t always fit in terms of size and anatomically, once they are not specific for women use. Bulletproof vests for women
The weapon used in service is not the correct size for many women, who risk failing professional certification due to that inadequacy, as they risk not being able to make an effective use of the weapon, if needed. Our trade union has received some complaints of concerned women police officers about that inadequacy, that may seem like a little detail but is actually a very serious matter. Service weapons
The two huge faults reveal that there haven’t been much of a concern from PSP with providing protection to the police officers theirselves. Besides these problems regarding adequate equipments, for both men and women, we enhance the fact that according to the social balance of the PSP, in 2013: No formation was provided according to health and safety working condition; No money was spent with preventing accident and professional diseases;
Women police officers are facing even more problems, in a job that already represents a huge risk. These difficulties are followed by others, as in many police stations there are no dressing rooms available, once there is only one; the same with the bathrooms, in spaces built only for men. There are some positive signs on the new police stations, but still a problem in the older ones. All these questions cause harm to women work and most of all does not make the police officer career attractive for women.
Our trade union will keep its work trying to raise the awareness so that the equality becomes a reality in the Portuguese Police, not only according the working conditions but also concerning the need to increase the number of female police officers in the PSP.
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