Met Police remembers first female Asian and Sikh police officer

The Metropolitan Police force has held a virtual event to mark the 50th anniversary of an officer who joined them as the first female Asian police officer in the UK.

PC Karpal Kaur Sandhu joined the police force on February 1st, 1971 and served until 1973, before passing away in November that year.

To mark Karpal’s contribution to policing, the Met held a virtual event to remember her life and legacy today.

Speaking about today’s commemoration event, Romy Sandhu, Karpal’s daughter, said: “I’m so proud of my mother, and her legacy as the UK’s first female police officer from an Asian and Sikh background. It’s wonderful that 50 years on she is remembered, and is an inspiration to generations of new female police officers joining the Met.”

Karpal was born to a Sikh family in Zanzibar, east Africa, in 1943 and came to the UK in 1962, where she got a job as a nurse at Chase Farm Hospital.

Karpal joined the Met in 1971 at the age of 27, where she served at Hornsey police station before moving to Leyton.

At a time when there would have only been about 700 female officers in the Met, Karpal was both the first female Sikh and female Asian police officer in the UK.

Writing in a report at the time, her Chief Superintendent said that she was “proving invaluable with our dealings with the immigrant population and she is also assisting other divisions in this work and also in teaching police officers Asian dialects.”

He added that she was “energetic, intelligent and conscientious” and enjoyed playing hockey and driving.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, said: “PC Karpal Kaur Sandhu was a true pioneer and ahead of her time. I have no doubt that her decision to join the Met Police in 1971 was a brave one and she would have faced considerable challenges along the way.

“As Britain’s and the Met’s first Asian female officer, Karpal paved the way for so many others who have gone into policing since 1971.

“Fifty years to the day after PC Sandhu joined the Met, I am pleased that we are able to remember her life, her career and the legacy she has left policing.”

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