Objects > Royal Ulster Constabulary policewoman's gloves


RUC policewoman's brown gloves

Date: 1940s - 1980s

Material: leather

Dimensions: ? 12 x 25 cm

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

Photograph of the first official RUC policewomen

Date: 1944

Material: paper

Dimensions: 23 x 18 cm

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

Standard issue brown leather gloves worn by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Women Police Branch. In 1918, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) employed four women in a civilian capacity to assist in policing duties which included taking statements and searching and escorting female civilians. After the disbandment of the RIC, the two female members stationed in Belfast were absorbed into the RUC and issued with warrant cards in 1938, a third civilian policewomen was recruited in 1940.

During World War II, the RUC decided to establish a women police branch to perform specific policing duties including dealing with prostitution, taking statements from women and children (particularly relating to sexual offences), searching female prisoners, political work and accompanying young children, female juveniles and aliens. The female recruits needed to be British, of a good educational standard, physically fit, unmarried or widowed without children, between 24 and 35 years of age and not less than 5ft 4in. After training at the RUC depot in Enniskillen, the first six recruits were posted to Belfast in 1944 under the charge of Woman Sergeant MacMillian from the Metropolitan Police. The RUC Women Police Branch received additional recruits in 1946, 1948 and 1950. A regulation stipulating that policewomen must resign on marriage, restricted the growth of the section and by 1951 the women’s branch had only 23 members.