International Women’s Day: Fed rep discusses challenges for female officers

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we catch up with one of Dyfed Powys Police Federation’s long-serving reps, as she reflects on her career and discusses the ongoing challenges female officers face.

Custody Sergeant Cath Cook first joined the police 26 years ago in 1997. Having joined as a response officer, she soon progressed as a detective constable. 

“I dreamt of becoming part of the CID but back then, if you were female, you had to be an exceptional officer to make it into the CID,” explained 51-year-old Cath, adding: “So, I became a detective constable in child protection.

“I’ve done so many things that I’m incredibly proud of but working in the child protection team was my definitely proudest time in the Force. Managing to get an offender into court or make sure a child abuser was sentenced, will always be at the height of my career.”

Looking back on her time in the Force, Cath says the attitude towards women in policing is definitely changing.

“When I joined, it was rare that you’d see a female officer working on every shift. However, as more women join the service, we will start to be treated equally,” continued Cath.

“But I still believe there is a certain mould for women within the Force, and if you don’t fit it, you won’t progress.”

Cath was inspired to become a Federation rep, having received support from the branch herself after experiencing sexual harassment from a male colleague during her earlier career days. 

She explained: “That man received a disciplinary, and that was helped by the support I received from a Federation representative. And I have been a Fed rep on and off ever since.”