23 Jun 2015

Regional police conference looks at low representation of women

1:54 pm on 23 June 2015

The low representation of women police officers in the Pacific, is one of the matters being addressed at a police conference in Auckland this week.

Delegates from 21 Pacific countries are attending the 12th Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Womens Advisory Network conference to discuss the challenges faced by women officers.

New Zealand Police Inspector Karen Henrikson, the organisation's chairperson, says there's a pressing need for more women in service across the region.

Niue had the highest number of female officers in the Pacific, at 42 percent, while all other countries generally fared well below 30 percent.

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Police women in Bougainville Photo: RNZ

Women officers in the Federated States of Micronesia make up only 3 percent of the force, the lowest numbers in the Pacific.

Ms Henrikson says those women who are in service generally face gender inequality issues which make it difficult for them to be promoted to senior positions.

She added that in some parts of the region, women police officers aren't even allowed to drive .

Ms Henrikson says she hopes the conference will encourage women to initiate change within their jurisdictions.