Force’s first female police officer was a trailblazer

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The county’s first ever female police officer, who paved the way for other women in the force, has died.

Stella Solomon passed away on February 29 in Wellingborough at the age of 89.

She joined Northamptonshire Police as a Woman Police Constable in 1946, serving in Wellingborough.

She made the move after working in the Women’s Auxiliary Police Service during the Second World War, deputising for the men who were fighting for their country. She later relinquished her role as a police officer to become a civilian secretarial support member.

Mrs Solomon continued to work at Wellingborough police station, where she was in charge of the typing pool for several years. She retired in 1982, but she maintained her links with the force.

In an interview she gave to the Evening Telegraph seven years ago, she said: “I liked being in the police force and I’m very proud to have been the first woman police officer in the county.

“It was a happy time and I enjoyed it. I have a great admiration for the role played by women in the service, but I wouldn’t want to be in it now.”

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “Stella helped pave the way for many other women to follow her into the service. She made the move after working in the Women’s Auxiliary Police Service during the Second World War.”

Detective Sergeant Jo Fletcher, who works in Northamptonshire Police’s Domestic Abuse Unit, but used to head up the Safer Community Team in Wellingborough, where Mrs Solomon was a resident.

She said: “I met Stella several years ago and it was a great honour to meet the woman in whose footsteps that I and many other women have followed.”

The Women’s Auxillary Police Service was founded in 1914, and in the 1920s women were given limited powers of arrest. But it wasn’t until 1973 that women were integrated directly into the main force.

Originally from Daventry, Mrs Solomon spent all her working life in Wellingborough.

In recent years she had lived at Bilton Court Care Home, Windermere Drive, Wellingborough.

Her funeral service will be at St Edmund Campion Roman Catholic Church, Henshaw Road, Wellingborough, on Wednesday, March 14, at 1pm, followed by cremation in Kettering.

Family flowers only. Donations can be made to the Northamptonshire Police Benevolent Fund through funeral directors, Bruce Carter & Son.