London’s first black police woman lived in Thornton Heath and her face has adorned underground posters in a bid to get more women to join the force particularly from ethnic minorities.
Sislin Faye Allen aka Aunty Pat lived on Parchmore Road from 1970 to 1973. She joined the Met in 1968 and the Met’s first female Commissioner Cressida Dick hopes her story will help in the long-term aim for 50 per cent of police officers to be women.
At the moment, just under 27 per cent of officers are women. In November the Met, marked 100 years of women in the service. A recruitment campaign called Strong aims to tackle the known barriers for women. Sislin joined 50 years ago at the age of 29 after seeing a recruitment advert for male and female officers at Croydon’s Queens Hospital where she worked as a nurse.
She trained at Peel House and her first posting was at Fell Road police station in Croydon. Sislin resigned in 1972 and returned to Jamaica with her husband and two children where she continued her career in policing.
To celebrate 50 years since the first black female officer joined, the Met is appealing to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women to apply. The Met currently only has three per cent female BME officers, but the aspiration is to reach 20 per cent.