GREATER Manchester Police welcomed the highest number of new female officers in one go to date at a ceremony in Bolton Town Hall.

More than 60 women were sworn in as Greater Manchester's newest recruits to the police force this week — the most female officers ever taken on by the force.

The first ceremony of 2020 on Wednesday saw 142 officers attest, including the 67 women.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins tweeted: "A fantastic evening for Greater Manchester Police as we swore in 142 new colleagues at Bolton Town Hall."

Local leaders, including the Bolton and Greater Manchester mayors, were there to congratulate the new officers.

The chief constable said: "A very talented group of individuals feeling very proud and looking forward to their new careers. Great to be joined by the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Hilary Fairclough and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham."

Among the women sworn in this week is Harriet Howard, who in her spare time volunteers for Bury Children's Rights. She was proud to take part in the ceremony, saying: “I am a soldier in the Army Reserve and a volunteer for Bury Children’s Rights.

"My military career and volunteer work provides me with an enormous sense of fulfilment and pride due to the difference I make to people’s lives and could potentially make in the future. I wanted that same sense of achievement and opportunity to make a difference to extend over to my civilian career.

"I am enthusiastic about public service and I’m partial to surprising people who think women aren’t interested in particular male dominated career paths."

Fellow officer Nadia Ahsan says she is looking forward to representing people of ethnic minorities in her new career: “I am the first female in my family to join the Police Service. Having come from an ethnic minority background, I always wanted to do something unique. I feel that women not just from BAME backgrounds but in general, are underrepresented in the force — I hope to encourage and inspire more women to join.

"I look forward to using my multi-lingual skills and knowledge of various European and South Asian cultures, to assist in investigations and to better understand the needs of the communities."

Police chiefs say their efforts to promote diversity among the police force are coming to fruition.

Chief Inspector Tony Alogba from the Positive Action team stated: “Here at GMP we are so pleased to be able to welcome so many female officers to the force.

“GMP is working hard to recruit officers that are reflective of the communities we serve and welcome the increased interest from females of all backgrounds. I wish everyone who has attested a successful career with GMP”.