The British Police have sparked a controversy by announcing that female suspects could be strip-searched by transgender Police officers!
The British Police recently issued new guidelines according to which the Police Department should identify whether the transgender person is a completely converted male or female, first. If she is a completely converted female, then the officer would be able to strip-search any female suspect. As per the guidelines, if a detainee would have any problem with the strip-search, then the officer might be replaced by another officer. In that case, the Department would consider on what basis the detainee objects to the strip-search. If the objection is based on discriminatory racial behaviour, then action could be taken against the concerned officer.
The guidelines read: “’Chief Officers are advised to recognise the status of Transgender colleagues from the moment they transition, considered to be, the point at which they present in the gender with which they identify. Thus, once a Transgender colleague has transitioned, they will search persons of the same gender as their own lived gender.”
Although the British Police have made an interesting decision, women have strongly criticised the new guidelines, saying that they should not be strip-searched by trans officers who were born male. They are of the opinion that the guidelines would create more troubles for women. Cathy Larkman, who served as a Police Officer for more than 30 years before her retirement in 2021 as Police Superintendent, said that women’s trust in the Police would decline due to the new guidelines.
In October 2021, Larkman (54) responded to fears among some women that they had no option over the gender of the officer strip-searching them, sending letters to the College of Policing, the Police Federation and the NPCC. She sought clarification that it was not the case. The Women’s Rights Network campaign group, too, backed Larkman, stressing that that strip-searches should to be carried out by an officer of the same sex under the existing law.
Larkman stressed: “The more I read it, the more shocked I was. This is a devastating blow to women’s trust in the Police. Women are not even an afterthought in this guidance – they are completely non-existent. Everything is geared towards the sensitivities of the Officer doing the searching. They claim they are trying to be inclusive. But this isn’t inclusive of women and it doesn’t respect their sex.”
Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission watchdog insisted on April 11 that gyms, hospitals and shops were legally allowed to offer single-sex services. A couple of days later, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “it was vital that women had single-sex spaces, and biological males should not compete in female sports“.
It may be noted that the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Police Officer rocked Britain, in March 2021. The Britons raised questions about the role of the Police in ensuring the safety of women. Since then, a number of changes have been made in order to restore the confidence of women in the Police Force.
However, considering the safety of women, many people are not able to accept the deployment of transgender (female) Police personnel in strip-search.
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Interesting that women’s groups are the only ones with concerns about this. Unlike sports, this is an issue that should affect men and women in a roughly equivalent way.