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2012年7月27日 (金)

女性警察官 治安守る力として重用したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 27, 2012)
Police ranks should include more female officers
女性警察官 治安守る力として重用したい(7月26日付・読売社説)

Police are urged to better utilize the capability of female officers in criminal investigations and securing the safety of local communities.

Female officers currently account for just 6.8 percent of about 250,000 police personnel nationwide. The National Police Agency has revealed a policy of increasing the ratio to about 10 percent by 2023, and this year's White Paper on Police takes an extensive look at how to increase such numbers.

Beyond simply hiring more new female graduates, there is also a plan to reemploy former female officers who are currently homemakers or have raised children. This is an attempt to take better advantage of women's viewpoints and sensitivities in police activities.

It is said that police have been increasing the number of female employees at a slower pace than other government organizations and private companies. Therefore, it is important for the NPA to make steady progress in its policy.

Until a few decades ago, it was common for female officers to be assigned to traffic safety departments--which are mainly in charge of things like illegal parking--after graduating from police academies, with the expectation that they would work there for several years before quitting their jobs to get married.

However, this has been changing in recent years.


Changes in career path

Many prefectural police headquarters now assign new female officers to koban police boxes, just like their male counterparts.

Police officers can acquire skills related to their duties while working at koban. In covering their assigned communities, they engage in anticrime activities and have to arrive at local crime scenes faster than any other officers.

Young police officers gain experience through these duties before being assigned to specialized fields such as criminal investigations and security.

Assigning female officers to koban can provide police with chances to discover their potential.

In particular, female officers are expected to be better at investigating crimes in which women are usually victimized, such as sexual offenses, domestic violence and stalking cases.

In a case that ended with the murder in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture, in December 2011 of two family members of a woman the alleged killer had been stalking, three different prefectural police headquarters--in Chiba, Nagasaki and Mie--failed to deal seriously with complaints from the woman's father, instead just giving him the runaround.

Their responses left the way open for the case's horrific outcome.
In this stalking case, male officers responded lackadaisically at all three headquarters. "They lacked sympathy for the stalked woman," a senior NPA official pointed out.


Useful in criminal investigations

Female victims of sex crimes and other offenses would be less reluctant to go to a police station if they found more officers of their own gender working in criminal affairs divisions. That would help decrease the number of female victims who give up on filing complaints with police.

Female officers can also bring other advantages to criminal investigations. Some female officers have already gained excellent reputations for their information-gathering skills as they enjoy good relationships with local residents thanks to their gentler manners.

Merely increasing the number of female officers, of course, would not automatically help police take full advantage of their skills. Another issue is motivating female officers with the prospect of promotion to management posts. It is noteworthy that only one police station in Japan--in Hokkaido--is headed by a female officer.

It is necessary for police forces to thoroughly review their personnel management to become more attractive workplaces for women.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 26, 2012)
(2012年7月26日01時47分  読売新聞)


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