Alice Bertha Clayden

Alice was the first woman to hold a senior rank in the police force, and paved the way for other women to join the detective branch.

Alice was born in 1885 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the daughter of a police inspector. Alice first worked as a teacher and a social worker. She joined the Women’s Police Service (WPS), a civilian organization that assisted the police, in 1915.

In 1919, the Metropolitan Police began to recruit women as police officers, and Alice was one of the first women to join the force. She was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and quickly rose through the ranks. Four years later in 1923 she was appointed detective inspector.

Clayden remained as Woman Inspector at Bow Street. In 1934 she was promoted to Sub-Divisional Inspector, and became deputy to superintendent Dorothy Peto at Scotland Yard.[2] 

Alice retired from the Metropolitan Police in 1936. She died in 1964.

Alice Bertha Clayden was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2000. She is remembered as a trailblazer for women in policing, and helped pave the way for women taking on senior roles in the police force.

 Her brothers also served in the Police Force: Sergeants Alfred William Clayden and Frank Frayn Clayden, Inspector Charles Henry Clayden.

For more information on Women Police in the period: Metropolitan Women Police Association