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WOMENS WORDS

Avon and Somerset police – gaslighting everyone

By Claire Loneragan


It’s so hard to get a straight answer to a simple question these days. Even the police are political and have enthusiastically embraced the politicians’ fondness for obfuscation and omission.  


Women’s Rights Network members in Somerset and West Dorset submitted FOIs to Avon & Somerset Police following the revelation that an unlawful transgender search policy had been implemented.


We asked:

  1. What communications, if any, have been sent to police officers and staff to notify them of [the] withdrawal [of the unlawful NPCC search guidance]?

  1. Please would you confirm if unlawful opposite-sex strip searches are currently approved policy or not for Avon and Somerset Police.


And we got several non-responses including this jumble of words which could mean almost anything:

Since our guidance was based on the NPCC guidance, we are urgently reviewing our position, including seeking legal advice. In the interim, all searches are being carried out in line with the officer or staff member’s training and legal authority, taking into account our responsibilities under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and, where a person has been detained, as authorised by the Custody Sergeant. This authorisation must take into consideration the response of the detainee and officers concerned to ensure any conflict is reduced or avoided, and searches are conducted safely and with dignity.

In mid-February I managed to have a brief but ultimately fruitless conversation with Chief Constable Sarah Crew’s staff officer who simply repeated the above response but formatted the paragraphs differently.


Eventually, a letter to all Chief Constables from the NPCC LGBTQ+ Lead Vanessa Jardine was shared. That didn’t answer our questions either.


I really didn’t expect anything else to be honest, because Avon and Somerset Police have outsourced their gender ideology policies to lobby groups. Yes, that’s a bold claim. But it’s well evidenced by an FOI response from A&S police on 1 February 2024.


The response includes links to four documents that are publicly available and a YouTube that is embedded on the A&S Police intranet for the benefit of staff.




Life’s too short to go through the full details of what staff are expected to accept, so let’s just review some highlights from that first document.


The Trans Guidance for an Individual starts badly with an expansive explanation of “trans” (a term that has no legal definition), but at least it correctly cites the Equality Act 2010 noting that the Act aims to protect individuals possessing the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment from unfair treatment.


But then it just starts making stuff up.


It gives an activist definition of “non-binary” for no apparent reason: since when did the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment include people not “transitioning” to a different so-called-gender?

Non-binary is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely. Non-binary people can feel that their gender identity and gender experience involves being both a man and a woman, or that it is fluid, in between, or completely outside of that binary.

But things get seriously weird when the practical implications are discussed.


According to the guidance, it’s absolutely fine for an officer who is transitioning in the workplace to change from using one set of toilets and other single-sex facilities, such as locker rooms, to another.


And those non-binary employees aren’t forgotten:


For a person who does not identify as female or male, for example a non-binary person, it is more a question of using which facilities you feel more comfortable using.

Somehow, everyone is expected to believe that the women’s toilets remain single-sex facilities even if a bloke can use them whenever he likes. Just because he feels more comfortable in the ladies.


But there’s more. Not only can these officers choose their uniform, they can choose their warrant or identity card. Check out this direct quote from the guidance:


Individuals who identify as gender-fluid may require two ID cards to reflect their gender on different days.

And all of this supposedly to facilitate the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. With no thought for the impact on female officers being forced to share their spaces with men. Spaces that are still called single-sex.


There’s no support for these female officers. No support for victims of crime who might have to deal with an officer who has different identities on different days. But there is support for “transitioning” officers – loads of it. Including Press for Change, Stonewall and – bizarrely – Mermaids. I know police officers look younger every year, but the police surely aren’t employing children, are they?


Avon & Somerset have implemented policies that go way beyond protecting “transitioning” officers from discrimination, and in doing so they are actively discriminating against other officers on the basis of sex. With 12 “trans employees” at the time of that FOI response, some single-sex facilities have almost certainly been made mixed-sex. And who can be confident that members of the public aren’t having to pretend that an officer is the sex they claim rather than their physical sex?


Stop it, Avon & Somerset Police.


Stop taking instructions from lobby groups. Stop promoting their propaganda videos. Stop implementing policies that support their extreme and unevidenced beliefs that people can change sex.


Stop gaslighting us. We’ve had enough.


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