Portsmouth’s first woman police inspector turns 100

Chief constable Olivia Pinkney and Gladys Howard, Portsmouth City Police's first female inspector. She turned 100 on Sunday
Chief constable Olivia Pinkney and Gladys Howard, Portsmouth City Police's first female inspector. She turned 100 on Sunday
Chantelle Cowdrey with son Rhys, holding up the size 24 coat she once had to wear - before her 9st weight-loss  'Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (180411-0805)

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A TRAILBLAZER who broke the glass ceiling to become Portsmouth’s first female police inspector has been honoured by retired officers.

Gladys Howard turned 100 on Sunday and dozens of members of the National Association of Retired Police Officers applauded her yesterday at the Marriott Hotel.

Delighted Gladys, who went on to become Lord Mayor of Portsmouth during her retirement, received a special recognition award.

She served in Portsmouth City Police from November 15, 1947 to December 3, 1976, having been made inspector on September 7, 1963.

Speaking to The News yesterday at the hotel in Southampton Road, Portsmouth, Gladys said: ‘It’s wonderful, I had no idea this was happening.

‘I knew we were having Christmas lunch but I didn’t know it was about me.’

Talking of her time as inspector, she added: ‘I was accepted very well.’

Gladys, of Milton, said one of her stand-out memories was accosting a sailor who had attacked an officer.

‘I took him by his collar and never let go,’ she said.

‘I think I was strangling him but I didn’t care, I was not going to have it.’

The celebration was held at the start of the Portsmouth and Gosport branch of Narpo’s Christmas lunch.

Branch chairman Paul Donnellan said: ‘It means so much to us.

‘As the first inspector – this was something you never heard of – she really broke the glass ceiling.

‘Now women play such an important part in policing.’

After her retirement Gladys served as a ward councillor for Kingston and then Milton before becoming Lord Mayor in 1989.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome, a former traffic police officer, yesterday awarded Gladys a special recognition award.

Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney attended yesterday’s event to mark the occasion, along with senior staff and Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter.

Mrs Pinkney said: ‘It’s on the shoulders of people like Gladys that the rest of us stand. I’m very aware of that as we celebrate 101 years of women in policing across the UK.’