International Women in Law Enforcement Conference – Leadership, Collaboration & Security – India – October 2015

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International Women in Law Enforcement Conference – Leadership, Collaboration & Security – India – October 2015

The Conference was hosted by the Director of the SVP National Police Academy, Hyderabad, Ms Aruna Bahuguna, and was the first international law enforcement conference held in India.  Charles Sturt University, Australia was the principal conference partner, and Interpol was the principal sponsor agency.

Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Honorable Minister Human Resources, India and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, Chris Elstoft attended as chief guests.

The conference was attended by about 125 women delegates from the international law enforcement community, and particularly by delegates from the Asia region.  Senior border security professionals from Sri Lanka, the US and Australia also attended.

The conference acknowledged women professionals at the very centre of law enforcement in India and internationally, and in pivotal leadership, management and priority areas of operational and strategic importance.  As a joint initiative the conference has helped to develop important cross-institutional and international relationships, essential to understanding, mitigating and combatting the threats posed to our communities and countries and afforded delegates the opportunity to discuss and debate a wide range of issues in a professional forum comprising operational leaders and managers and leading academics.

Key themes for discussion included organisational leadership and management, organised crime, border security, international collaboration, terrorism and radicalisation and the convergence of science, law and law enforcement, from policy, operational and academic perspectives from issues of culture and restrictions on the development of women in law enforcement in the context of women in defence forces; the treatment of women and the limitations that placed upon them both directly and indirectly were discussed; emotional intelligence required to deal with life changing issues.

Professor Tracey Green, from Charles Sturt University noted that “The geopolitical landscape and more specifically the law enforcement landscape in which our women operate has changed dramatically since many of us joined our respective law enforcement agencies and organisations.  This conference has provided an opportunity to update our thinking and level of knowledge and future issues and hopefully has encouraged all participants all to reflect on what they know and to better work with each other to discover what we don’t know.”

This conference has provides a fantastic opportunity to seek more detailed understanding of international law enforcement challenges and examine their characteristics and their impact on the future.

The Times, India 7, October 2015 reported that change is sweeping the law enforcement environment as it is no longer seen as a male dominated agency, with several countries like Australia, South Africa, Estonia and Belgium having women officers outnumbering men.

Elaborating on the role played by women officers, Dr Saskia Hufnagel, of the Queen Mary University, London said that the law enforcement field was predominantly a male dominated environment but not any longer.  Gender disparity in the police force is a worldwide phenomenon. But, there are a few countries like Australia, South Africa, Estonia and Belgium where the number of women officers outweighs that of men. While there has been an increase in number we want women to fare better in terms of promotions, opportunities and ranks as well.  While agencies like Interpol, comprise 44 per cent women and 35 per cent in the international police office, the numbers can be deceptive as many women personnel are positioned at the entry level and junior levels.

The Director of the SVP, National Police Academy observed that there have been several ardent breakthroughs achieved by women pioneers and as women we must now follow in their footsteps and build our own identity.  Not only do we owe this to ourselves but also to our future sisters.  While emphasizing on the fact that the world has shrunk into a global village with crime sweeping across continents, the Director said that it was only logical that women law enforcers across the globe join hands to fight crime be it in the form of terrorism, border security, technology or radicalisation.

“It is conferences like these which will unite women enforcers, sans borders,” she said.

This article was prepared by Chantal Tung, Conference Manager, Australian Graduate School of Policing & Security, Charles Sturt University.

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