Trans police officers who were born male but identify as female can search women

10 April 2022, 07:50 | Updated: 10 April 2022, 10:42

The NPCC, chaired by Martin Hewitt, issued new guidance in December
The NPCC, chaired by Martin Hewitt, issued new guidance in December. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Women can be strip-searched by transgender police officers who were born as men and could be accused of causing a "hate incident" if they refuse, it has been reported.

New guidelines say once an officer should be considered a woman or man "from the moment they transition… the point at which they present in the gender".

It goes on to say they will be able to search people of the same gender that they identify as, and that while it could be "advisable" to replace them for the search if a detainee objects, such a refusal should be viewed as a hate incident if motivated by "discriminatory views".

The Mail on Sunday reported National Police Chief's Council [NPCC] guidance as saying: "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."

Read more: Trans women can be banned from single-sex changing rooms and toilets, watchdog finds

And after stating a transgender police officer could be taken out of a search if a person objected, the advice says: "If the refusal is based on discriminatory views, consideration should be given for the incident [to] be recorded as a non-crime hate incident unless the circumstances amount to a recordable crime."

The NPCC told LBC that refusal to be searched by a trans officer would not amount to a recorded hate crime.

The guidance was revealed when a retired officer, Cathy Larkman, had the guidance released to her by the NPCC, and she described herself as "gobsmacked".

"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," she told the newspaper.

"They claim they are trying to be inclusive. But this isn't inclusive of women and it doesn't respect their sex."

A spokesman for the NPCC said: "All searches are dealt with on a case-by-case basis after consideration by a custody sergeant based on the response of the detainee.

"All searches are carried out in line with the officer or staff members training and legal authority, taking into account our responsibilities under both the Equalities Act 2010 and Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984."

The report comes on the back of controversy about trans people in sport.

British cycling authorities banned transgender competitors from racing and launched a review of current policy that it says is "unfair on all women riders."

And Boris Johnson said "biological men should not be competing in female sporting events".

Transgender women can also be legally banned from single-sex toilets and changing rooms, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said – sparking controversy from trans rights groups.