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Judith Gillespie

Judith Gillespie

Judith Gillespie CBE, from North Belfast, joined the Police Service in Northern Ireland (formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary) in 1982. In 2004, she became the first woman to be appointed Assistant Chief Constable – a feat so remarkable, that she had to commission a decorated cap specially to suit her measurements, since no one had ever anticipated that a woman would hold such a rank. In 2009 she was appointed Deputy Chief Constable, and served a temporary period as acting Chief Constable, during which she commissioned a supply of female Chief Constable caps, so that her successors would not have to wait as she did. Judith Gillespie held several roles with the Police Service over her 32-year career. She was Chief Officer for 11 years and Human Rights Champion on the PSNI’s Gender Action Plan. In 2013, she led the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, which marked the first time in its 28-year history that this high-profile, athletic contest was held in the United Kingdom. Since her retirement from the Police Service in Northern Ireland in 2014, Judith Gillespie continued to act as an Independent Advisor, and served 4 years as a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

This archive, donated by Judith Gillespie, consists of photographs, awards, newspaper clippings, interviews, a biography outlining her ranks, stations, material from her recruitment file, a poster, an interview with William Crawley on BBC Talkback, and a feature in policereview.com. It includes a certificate for ‘Breaking the Glass-ceiling’ awarded by the National Centre for Women & Policing, achievement certificates including one from the FBI for completing the National Executive Institute Session, and Judith Gillespie’s cap. 

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