Agda Halldin was one of the three first women who served as auxilliary policewomen in Sweden.
Agda Josefina Halldin was born in Grundsund, in Göteborg and Bohus county in 1869. Her father, August Halldin, born in Solberg in the same county in 1836, was a bell-ringer and a school-teacher. Her mother, Maria Carolina Halldin née Johansson, was born in Skaftö, Bohuslän in 1846. Agda Josefina Halldin was the eldest of eleven children who were born to her parents in the period of 1869–1887.
Agda Halldin became the first woman to be appointed as a Stockholm constabulary police assistant on 25 February 1908. She was quickly followed by the appointments of Erica Ström and Maria Andersson. All these women were qualified nurses and brought professional experience to their new posts. Agda Halldin was appointed to the detective section of Stockholm constabulary.
The employment of women within Stockholm constabulary came about following a decision made by the Stockholm Överståthållarämbetet (governor’s office) in 1908 to apportion an amount of money specifically to cover a probationary employment of auxilliary policewomen up to 1 January 1909. After that point the project was to be conclusively assessed.
The instructions given to these initial female police assistants reveal that they were given the title of ‘syster’ (this sense of “sister” being a Swedish form of address to e.g. nurses and nuns, although the function in this case was more akin to that of a police community support officer). Their duties focused on work which involved women and children.
This experiment proceeded successfully and more auxiliary policewomen were subsequently hired by Stockholm constabulary. A couple of years later, in 1940, Gothenburg constabulary followed suit and appointed auxiliary policewomen. Within a few more decades other towns and cities similarly appointed auxiliary policewomen. Agda Halldin and her fellow auxiliary policewomen were subject to media attention from the outset. As the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported, on 21 June 1908, the auxiliary policewomen had shown themselves to be providing a genuine service.
The auxiliary policewomen performed ground-breaking roles as the first women to be employed within the Swedish police forces. Although many auxiliary policewomen were appointed over the ensuing years it was not until 1930 that their professional responsibilities were expanded. In 1937 these women were able to access full police training. The title of ‘polissyster’ was dropped in 1954.
Agda Halldin appears to have remained in the employ of Stockholm constabulary until her retirement.
Agda Halldin never married and died a member of St Göran parish in Stockholm, on 11 December 1949.