Jean Thomson

View All / Footstep 12

Jean Thomson

20th Century

Born in 1881, the daughter of the minister of Lochee Parish Church, Jean is thought to be Scotland’s first police woman. Some people had wanted female police to protect women and some had wanted them to control women. Eventually, the disruption to family life brought about by World War 1 triggered action and, in 1915, welfare-oriented Volunteer Women’s Patrols were established in Dundee.

At the end of the war in 1918, Jean was appointed as a ‘police sister’, working four hours a day. In fact, she worked full time – patrolling, interviewing and escorting women and girls and writing reports. She visited pubs, too – but always with a male officer.

In 1922, the Chief Constable was to deny he had ever had a policewoman on his strength – we’re pleased to record that the current Chief Constable is delighted to have Jean’s memorial plaque sited at the Marketgait entrance to the Tayside Police HQ.

Image of Tayside Women Police Officers c.1960. Copyright Tayside Police Archives