Edna was a first she paved the way for women as police officers

Edna Hopksin
Edna Hopksin

There are a number of famous women who have paved the way for progress in the battle for gender equality.

But there are also the unsung heroines who led the way in female firsts without public accolades to celebrate their forward thinking.



Edna Hopkin, from Ossett, was one of those important women as one of Yorkshire’s – and the country’s – first policewomen.

She died on June 12 aged 87.

Now ex-detective Cate Booth is calling on colleagues both past and present to pay their respects to this female trailblazer.

She said: “Undoubtedly, Edna made it easier for me and today’s generation of women to serve as police officers. From what I have been told, she was a dedicated member who took no nonsense from folk.”

Ms Booth, who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for her work with West Yorkshire Police, added: “It’s a time to say thank you to Edna for serving in the police and for pioneering the way for today’s many female police officers.”

A coach driver’s daughter, Edna joined the police as a single woman in her early 20s after signing up in October 1949.

She spent several years serving in the then Halifax County Borough Force before transferring to the town of her birth, Dewsbury, where she met fellow officer, and future husband, Arthur Norman.

This meeting proved to be a double-edged sword as, although happily married until Arthur’s death in 1998, Edna was forced to hang up her handcuffs as married women were not allowed to serve in the force.

She continued to work as a PA in the NHS but her sole surviving sibling, Vera Ainsworth, 86, from Tingley, believes she “would have stayed on had been allowed”.

She continued: “She was in the force seven years and was used in a photo shoot for a recruitment drive to encourage more women to join the force.

“She took pride in her work.”

Edna’s funeral will be held on Friday, June 27, at Dewsbury Moor Crematorium, Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury, at 12.45pm.