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Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Monday, 16 July 2012 09:49 UK

'Gloomy picture' for female officers

Around 40% of female police officers are so disillusioned with their jobs that they have seriously considered quitting, according to a survey of all women police in England and Wales.

PC Julie Nesbit, who helped carry out the survey, says that female officers are predominantly concerned by the "lack of flexibility" within the police service and about the "changes to the roles that they can carry out".

"All together the picture is very gloomy," she told the Today programme and explained that having children whilst going through the service is "very difficult" as because of the cuts flexibility "has been restricted".

Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner who published the results, says he is "very shocked" by the results of the survey.

"The real worry is whether we are going back to 20 or 30 years ago when women police officers were treated as second class citizens," he told Sarah Montague.

A Home Office spokesman gave the following statement:

"We are determined to promote equality in policing and while the number of female officers in the force has increased we need to do better. But this cannot be achieved by the same old box-ticking approaches: it requires a cultural change where the right values are embedded in forces' leadership.

"We are removing barriers for women at work by extending flexible working and flexible parental leave. We have made an extra £300 million of childcare support under Universal Credit available to help around 80,000 more families with children work the hours they choose and we have lifted 1.1 million of the lowest paid workers out of income tax altogether, more than half of whom are women."

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