This blog started in 2006 and had nearly 1.5 million readers before I stopped posting regularly in 2012.
When I look back, there are two themes in my last few posts, which did not occur to me at the time:
1. Freedom of speech was under attack from the Leveson enquiry.
The feeling that I could be seriously harmed on the front-line, and then stuck on for writing about it, was too much.
But the events in France this week have moved me to write. I set this blog up to give an insight into what it is like to be a female police officer in the Twenty-First Century. This meant talking about what it is like to be a police officer, and what it is like to be a woman.
When I started blogging, it was the Year of the Woman Police Officer. There had never been more opportunities for females to join the police and surge their way up the ranks. At the time, I thought it was just the beginning. This was my earliest post about Equality.
As a young female PC, all I wanted was to be treated the same as my male colleagues. I honestly believed that women were on the up, and saw no ceiling to what I could achieve, if I wanted. In fact, it drove me mad to see pregnant and part-time mothers being allowed to do whatever they wanted in terms of hours and duties, when I was breaking my back on the front-line.
Now in 2015, I see those PCs' deaths as a kind of tipping point. The conflagration of Winsor, budget cuts, and a lack of public stomach for seeing young women (more so than men) killed in the line of duty, has enabled forces to reduce and restrict the options for women year on year. A fact they will most strenuously deny, and which I don't believe to be intentional.
Blandshire Constabulary has re-written its flexible and part-time working policy since I joined up. I learn from colleagues in other forces that this is the same nationwide. Now, if as a woman you want to be a dog handler, firearms officer, or sergeant (and above), it is almost impossible to start a family. Returning to work as a mother and a sergeant, you are expected to fill a full-time 24/7 sergeant's role, and there are fewer and fewer options for those who cannot do so.
This is a complex situation. Far too complex for one post on the matter.
The matters I wrote about eight years ago are not resolved. And we should not stop writing about them.