But the directive has sparked fury among women’s rights campaigners and fears it will further erode trust in the police. The National Police Chiefs Council says: “Chief officers are advised to recognize the status of transgender colleagues from the time of their transition, the time they present themselves in the gender with which they identify.
“Once a colleague has transitioned, they will look for people of the same gender as their own experienced gender.”
The guidelines state that it may be “advisable” to replace the person carrying out the search if the suspect objects. But they add: “If the denial is based on discriminatory views, consideration should be given to registering the incident as a non-criminal hate incident, unless the circumstances constitute a crime.”
The advisory, issued in December, was revealed by retired Superintendent Cathy Larkman, who said she was “absolutely amazed” when she found out about it last week.
She added: “The more I read it the more shocked I was. It’s a devastating blow to women’s trust in policing. Women aren’t even an afterthought in this advice, they’re completely non-existent. Everything is geared towards the sensitivities of the officer conducting the search.
“They claim they’re trying to be inclusive, but that doesn’t include women and doesn’t respect their gender.”
Heather Binning, founder of the Women’s Rights Network, said: “This shows why our Respect My Sex campaign is so important.
“The so-called rights of people who identify as transgender are being used to systematically erode the legally protected rights of women.
“In any other context, if a man forced a woman to undress and touched her intimately without her consent, he would be guilty of sexual assault. It is just as outrageous as any woman who opposes strip searches by a man could be charged with a hate crime.”
An NPCC spokesperson said: “All searches are handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the inmate’s response.
“The research takes into account our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.”
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This notice was published: 2022-04-11 08:54:16