Illston-on-the-Hill WI – Apr ’24

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Illston-on- the-Hill WI were privileged to host Sue Pulsford, a former police officer. The tales of her time in the force during the 1960’s left us both entertained and enlightened. Under the intriguing title ‘Heartbeat, I was there’, Sue took us on a nostalgic journey through her experiences as a pioneering woman in a predominantly male police force.

Her journey into law enforcement began in 1961 when she joined the North Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary. Back then the gender ratio was stark, with 1400 men to a mere 14 women. Her training in Warrington equipped her for the challenges ahead. But nothing could prepare her for the reality of policing in an era devoid of today’s technological marvels.

Stationed initially at Redcar, Sue vividly painted a picture of a time when radios were non-existent and communication relied on primitive ‘press button A or B’ telephone boxes. Officers conducted patrols on foot, by bike or occasionally on the bus. With the latter being a convenient perk for officers as fares were waived.

Amidst the humour of her recollections, Sue shared poignant moments that underscored the gravity of her profession. From escorting royalty to navigating crowds around celebrities like Cliff Richard, her stories illuminated the diverse challenges faced by officers of her time.

1960’s policing serves as a reminder that despite technological advancements, the essence of the law enforcement remains unchanged. The complexities may have evolved but the dedication, resilience and human touch exemplified by officers like Sue continue to define the profession.

Jane Shute