NPA panel urges more policewomen

Kyodo

The nation’s police forces should be less male-dominated and have more females in their ranks, an expert panel under the National Police Agency proposed Thursday.

Female officers accounted for only 6.8 percent of the nation’s police as of April 2012, with the agency planning an increase to 10 percent by April 2023.

But the panel urged the NPA to achieve the target ahead of schedule.

The number of newly recruited policewomen topped 1,000 for the first time in fiscal 2002, while more than 400 female officers have retired every year since fiscal 2006.

In fiscal 2011, about 40 percent of female retirees were in their late 20s to early 30s, indicating they saw difficulties in achieving a work-life balance once marriage and parenthood entered the equation.

Given these circumstances, the panel said police forces needed to install more women in criminal investigation and security divisions, both considered male-dominated areas, as well as to planning and personnel departments. It also wants more policewomen be available to interact with female victims of crime at police stations and police boxes in evenings and on holidays.

Responding to the proposals, the NPA plans to promote female officers to a wider range of posts while urging police forces to re-employ women who opted to retire to take care of children or family members.