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Heather's story 


I joined the metropolitan police on 3rd August 1981 I refused to enter on the graduate entry scheme.  women were still not equal and faced many humiliating ‘female initiations’ such as being station stamped. As a probationer of less than one year my Chief Superintendent gave me the completed form to sign to study for the sergeants exam. This meant at times I was  acting sergeant on the relief controlling the all male  PC’s who were supposed to be mentoring me. In the February I passed in the top 10 of over 500 officers. I was posted to Brixton (where i was born) not long after beginning there the 1985 riots began my shift were late turn so we were there 10 officers trying to defend the police station and High Street. Women had only just been issued with trousers but no truncheon or hard hat. My pc’s got me the latter two and we went and faced the rioters. It was a long, tiring and dangerous night. The rioters were on the street every night that week. A couple of weeks later I was summoned to a senior officer who presented me with a commendation for bravery and leadership in the riots the first female officer in England and Wales.


At the age of 34  I was medically retired because my spine had been fractured and dislocated on duty. I was devastated and could not see anything beyond that point.

I met my partner a couple of years later and moved to Essex. I suddenly had a stroke in 2004 and then a big second one 2006. After extensive tests it was diccovered that I had many  brain bleeds due to the many head injuries received in the police force, especially from debris dropped from flats in the riots and general duties. I have also had several TIA’s. This has all added to my brain damage and eventual diagnosis of dementia at the age of 44.

PP has given me life but it has also given my partner life again.

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