In 1968, Sislin Fay Allen, a nurse at Croydon’s Queens Hospital, became Britain’s first Black policewoman.
“On the selection day there were so many people there, the hall was filled with the young men. There were ten women and I was the only Black person.” After taking a set of exams and a stringent medical, Sislin Allen was told she had passed and would start work at Croydon’s Fell Road Police Station. “I can remember one friend said, `Oh they wouldn’t accept you, they don’t accept Black people in the force’, and so I said `Well my dear, I’ve got news for you’ and I showed her the letter.”
“The first day on the beat in Croydon was daunting, but it wasn’t too bad because I went out with an officer. People were curious to see a Black woman there in uniform walking up and down, but I had no problem at all, not even from the public. On the day I joined I nearly broke a leg trying to run away from reporters. I realised then that I was a history maker. But I didn’t set out to make history; I just wanted a change of direction.”
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”
You can read more about Sislin Fay Allen, here.
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