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About City

Sue M. A. Brown



PhD Topic

The pathway that senior women police officers take to becoming a chief constable


PhD – City, University of London. (2010 - present - part time)

Master of Arts - in Criminology - City University, London (2008)

Bachelor of Arts - First Class (Hons) – in Criminology - University of Bedfordshire (2004-2007)

Associate Fellow with the Higher Education Academy (2011)

The Study

Working with the title – “Breaking through the ranks: how senior women police officers in England and Wales make sense of their experience of ascending the hierarchy and becoming an ACPO rank officer” my research is based on analysis of the attitudes, experiences and sense-making of an élite group of senior police women, who have broken through the ‘glass ceiling’ (the artificial barriers based on attitudinal and/or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from being promoted on merit to management level position) identifying the determining factors and strategies that have influenced, facilitated or challenged their career pathway and in so doing seek to understand the slow and variable progress that has been made in the quest for ACPO rank by female employees in police forces in England and Wales.


First – Professor Eugene McLaughlin
Second – Dr Carrie-Ann Myers

Research Interests

I am interested in exploring why it is that so few women reach top leadership positions in the police service today, examining if there are still barriers in place, perceived or real, that obstruct the advancement of women in the police today. I am also concerned with the media representation of women as senior officers and seek to explore the influence it may have on the public perception of police leadership.