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Northumbria – Policing with Pride

Northumbria Police Car

By Claire Loneragan

Northumbria police pride themselves on “doing the right things, in the right way, for the right reason” and promoting “a respectful and supportive culture in which everyone can thrive”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Obviously they are very keen to tackle hate crime. So keen that in March 2024 they recorded JK Rowling’s perfectly lawful expression that India Willoughby is a man as a “hate incident” despite no crime having been committed and nothing approaching “hate” being expressed.

Why Northumbria police? Because that’s the force picked by Willoughby to compel this woman’s speech as an example to others. Willoughby knew they’d be sympathetic to the non-crime of “misgendering”.

From commissioning rainbow cars to interviewing football fans, Northumbria police have shown themselves only too willing to do the bidding of those who think that women should just shut up about the men making our lives more difficult and dangerous.

JKR isn’t the only woman who has found her ability to thrive in Northumbria compromised.

A Northumbria police rainbow van proudly advertising their “lgbt+ Association”
A Northumbria police rainbow van proudly advertising their “lgbt+ Association”

In October 2023, when Linzi Smith expressed perfectly lawful opinions on so called “gender affirming care” and those who promote it, activists decided that an example must be made. The Premier League compiled a dossier on Linzi, and Newcastle United Football Club declared her guilty of breaching their “Diversity and Inclusion” policy. She was duly banned from St James’s Park for the next two-and-a-half seasons.

But it didn’t end there. On the basis of this dossier, Linzi was interviewed under caution by Northumbria Police. An example of doing the right things, in the right way, for the right reason? I don’t think so, and nothing to be proud of.

It’s tempting to say “the world’s gone mad” but that barely touches the sides.

Back in the summer of 2023, @genderisharmful posted an alarming account of “A grown man who dresses like a baby girl, sucks a dummy & wears nappies, has been going into local, special schools to talk about being autistic.”

Reduxx - Ritchie Smith

This was reported by Reduxx too who did a bit more digging and found that Ritchie Smith, the man in question, had adopted “behavior … commonly associated with a fetish subculture known as the “adult baby-diaper lifestyle”. Not so long ago, bringing this sort of information to public attention would have been considered a public service.

But times have changed.

The response of Northumbria police was to contact @genderisharmful with the suggestion that this post might constitute a criminally malicious communication. It’s surely just a coincidence that Northumbria police engaged Ritchie Smith in 2021 to help with police autism training.

Ritchie Smith who trained Northumbria Police
Ritchie Smith who trained Northumbria Police

But there’s more.

In September 2023 Northumbria Police launched an appeal for information after “transphobic graffiti” was left at various locations on Tyneside.

Northumbroa Police Tweet Appeal
Reported grafitti

Crikey, this sounds like serious stuff.

Serious enough to be reported by the BBC who went with the headline “Gateshead: Hate crime inquiry over transphobic graffiti on High Level Bridge” while the Northern Echo headline read “Transphobic graffiti appears in various parts of Gateshead”.

So offensive, so damaging and hurtful was this graffiti that support was offered through the email address for anyone unlucky enough to be exposed to it. Clearly, it would have been irresponsible for the BBC or anyone else to share the message itself and it’s not been easy to establish what it said.

Fear not, reader, I tracked it down on TwiX. It says – brace yourself – “U CANT CHANGE SEX!”

Why are Northumbria Police labelling factual statements as “hate”? Why are they diverting precious resources into graffiti prevention (but only for certain messages)?

One reason is likely to be that the Chief Constable of Northumbria is one Vanessa Jardine, a name you will recognise if you have read the Women’s Rights Network police report because CC Jardine was responsible for the National Police Chiefs Council’s unlawful “transgender search policy”.

CC Jardine, the NPCC lead for LGBT+ issues, returned to Northumbria in April 2023 bringing her LGBT+ focus with her to the northeast.

Northumbria Police were already ahead of the game, though, and in 2022 could report how many employees were transgender (eight) but not how many employees were male or female. I have every confidence* there’s a legitimate reason for recording employees’ “gender identity” – they are the police, after all.

(* Actually, I don’t. For Equal Opportunities reporting “sex” is the protected characteristic mandated by the Equality Act 2010 for equal treatment.)   

2022 Northumbria Police Statistics

Gender identity is all you need for Gender Pay Gap Reporting of course, now that the Government Equalities Office guidance allows employees to identify however they like.

Despite this, and despite a big improvement in 2023, Northumbria’s gender pay gap remains stubbornly high with the mean gap at 9.4% and the median gap a whopping 27.3%. Whew!

Northumbria Police 2023 Reporting

All of which begs the question, what does Northumbria Police have to be proud of?

When resources are diverted to pet projects, women are unable to speak freely, and stating the truth is vandalism, too much is being done in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

Never mind policing with pride, how about policing with integrity?

National LGBT Police Network



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