A POLICE chief says she is delighted her force has been recognised as one of the best employers for women.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner took charge of Sussex Police this summer and is the force’s first woman in the top role.

The force has been named in The Times top 50 list for best employers for women.

But Ms Shiner said there is still hard work to be done to achieve gender parity in Sussex Police.

She pointed out there has been a rise in the promotion of women in Sussex to better roles and, alongside Surrey Police, 34 per cent of senior leaders are women.

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Ms Shiner said: “Tackling gender inequality is a policing issue, because to combat domestic and sexual abuse, where the victims are predominately female, as well as a significant element of serious crime and violence, we need to tackle the gender inequality that underpins it in society.

“I am delighted that Sussex and Surrey, working in collaboration, have been recognised in this year’s Times Top 50 Employers for Women.

“This award is recognition of the progress made through hard work by individuals at every level in our organisations to create a more inclusive workplace and improve the gender balance of the workforces across all ranks.

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“By better reflecting the communities we serve, we can understand and serve them better.”

She praised the work of her predecessor Giles York and Superintendent Miles Ockwell, who worked with the United Nations in the “he for she” campaign.

The news follows some tough lessons for the force, such as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into how the murder of Shana Grice in Mile Oak in 2016 was handled.

IOPC inspectors told the force it had to improve its handling of stalking and harassment cases following Shana’s murder by her ex partner Michael Lane, who is now serving life in prison.

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Eastbourne and Lewes District Commander Diane Lewis joined policing in 1993 as a PC and said Sussex Police has supported her through having her child and being a single mum.

Chief Inspector Lewis said: “The force has been a fantastic employer, supporting me through having a child and being a single mum, allowing me to work part time and then flexibly to support home life.”

“As women, we bring fantastic skills to police work, such as compassion and communication skills. However, we often lack confidence in ourselves and our abilities – and that includes me. It’s important we reflect on our achievements and successes, and believe in ourselves.

“I have the support of a mentor and have also had coaching, both provided by the force, to help me. In turn I support others through my involvement in Evolve, and I mentor both men and women to support their career progression and personal growth.”