Meet the first women in Manx police

Louisa Cannell and Margaret Lewin

Louisa Cannell and Margaret Lewin

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Louisa Cannell and Margaret Lewin were the first women police constables appointed by Isle of Man Constabulary during the latter half of the First World War.

They were sworn in on October 29, 1917, and were followed on July 1, 1918, by Elizabeth Eleanor Kermeen.

Louisa Cannell was a Probation of Offenders Officer for Women when she was asked to become one of the Isle of Man’s first female police officers, along with Margaret Lewin, who was a member of the Salvation Army in Douglas.

This move by the Isle of Man Constabulary was prompted not by a shortage of male officers, but concern about female criminality on the island during the First World War.

In 1917, it was reported in Douglas police records that soliciting by women had risen.

This was thought to be attributable to the establishment of military camps on the island.

One of the main responsibilities of the women police officers was to maintain discipline and public order around factories or hostels. They also patrolled other public areas such as railway stations, streets, parks and public houses.

Louisa and Margaret both left the police force after the war.

No other female officers were recruited by the Isle of Man Constabulary until July 1940, when the Second World War was to again place the spotlight on women in the police.


Each week throughout 2014, the Isle of Man Examiner is recounting the accounts of soldiers on the battlefields in the First World War to maritime and civilian experiences and enemy aliens interned on the Isle of Man.

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