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Celebrating our female detectives after 40 years on the case

Detective Sergeant Elisha Edwards talks about her work 40 years after the first female detective was appointed.
Detective Sergeant Elisha Edwards talks about her work 40 years after the first female detective was appointed. Rob Williams
GROUND BREAKER: The first female detective in Ipswich was appointed in 1973, Noleyne Milne, became a Detective Constable in 1981.
GROUND BREAKER: The first female detective in Ipswich was appointed in 1973, Noleyne Milne, became a Detective Constable in 1981. Contributed

IT HAS been 40 years since the first female detective was employed with the Queensland Police Service and the number of women in the ranks has risen steadily since.

Although once a male-dominated profession, women have played an increasingly important role since being introduced into the then-Queensland Police Force in 1931.

Detective Sergeant Elisha Edwards joined the Queensland Police Service in 2003 and has worked in Ipswich for 10 years.

"I was initially sent to Ipswich as a first-year Constable and stayed here for eight years before transferring to the Homicide Investigation Unit in Brisbane," she said.

"When the opportunity came up to return to Ipswich, I did.

"Ipswich has always been a great place to work, I've learnt a lot and the people here are great."

Sgt Edwards said she had held an interest in policing since childhood.

"The variety in the job keeps me interested, I like that I get to work and have no idea what the day has planned for me," she said.

"In terms of career, I like the opportunities to move into different fields within the same organisation.

"I became a detective after working alongside detectives when I was in uniform and was inspired by their knowledge."

Having worked in the Queensland Police Service for more than a decade, Sgt Edwards has experienced both the best and worst parts of policing.

"The best part of my job would be achieving results," she said.

"It's always great to help people out when they've been the victim of crime.

"The worst part of the job is having to tell people they've lost a loved one."

Today around 25% of Queensland Police officers are women.

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Detective Inspector Lew Strohfeldt, from Ipswich station, said there were currently six female detectives in Ipswich, as well as 13 plain clothes officers who are working to attain their detective qualifications.

"All of our detectives are very capable and an asset to the service," he said.

"Every officer we have is excellent at their job without exception, our detectives in the Ipswich area are a great team of people."

The QPS actively encourages woman to join the service.

"I have noticed that each year more and more woman are joining and many are showing an interest in becoming a detective," Sgt Edwards said.

"I don't really think about being a woman in the service, I think it's more about how effective I am and what I can offer the service as opposed to my gender.

"In the Ipswich Police District we have quite a few female detectives already working in both the Criminal Investigations Branch and Child Protection Units."

This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Queensland Police Service.

Topics:  queensland police service



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