Women still make up fewer than 18% of sworn police officers. Police were supposed to have reached a target of 20% eight years ago.
Former Superintendent Paula Rose who left the force early last year after nearly 30 years, said the numbers tell a bleak story and it has taken far too long to grow it to even that level.
Ms Rose said police need to make a more concerted effort to attract female recruits and help their advancement.
She said there are capable women with the police right now who should be on the executive team.
Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard, who's in charge of recruitment, acknowledged that police have a long way to go.
Targetted advertising is being used to try to get more women into the force and mentoring and development programmes are being offered to ensure women have the chance to progress.
More on women in the police force can be heard on Insight on the Sunday Morning programme.