The National Trans Police Association exists primarily to provide support to serving and retired Police Officers, Police Staff and Special Constables with any gender identity issue including, but not exclusively, Trans Men, Trans Women, people who identity as ‘Transgender’, Androgyny or Intersex. Also the NTPA will give support to people who identify as Cross Dressers.
The NTPA further aims to provide support to all serving and retired police officers, police staff and special constables who are dealing with people with a gender identity issue whether that person is a colleague, family member or a member of the public involved in a police matter.
The year of 2012 was quite a momentous year in terms of the implementation of some significant legislative changes intended to deliver trans equality: 12 July 2012 – Annex L, Code C of PACE was finally implemented providing statutory guidance on the searching of trans detainees.
3 December 2012 – the amendment to section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 became law, so now we finally have equality in England & Wales in terms of transphobic hate crimes receiving longer sentences on par with other specified hate crime offences, and a 30 year starting point for transphobic murders. This is on par with similar legislation for Scotland. However, there’s no such provision for Northern Ireland yet. It’ll be interesting to see if the Law Commissioner’s current review of ‘inciting’ and ‘aggravated’ offences extends legislative equality to these areas as well.
Other significant events included the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry, and the government’s response of establishing a royal charter to deal with press regulation. Our Vice Chair, Sophie, took on the responsibility of engaging with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in order to get their Editor’s Code amended so that gender identity was treated on par with other protected areas. This is still a work in progress.
In a disappointing turn of events, the recent Julie Birchill article in the Observer newspaper was not censured by the PCC. However, every cloud has a silver lining and a positive outcome of this issue were stronger links with Trans Media Watch, and the fact that perhaps Ms Birchill had done us a favour by demonstrating that the current code is not fit for purpose.
More recently, there’s the progress of the Marriage (Same Sex) Bill through Parliament, which allows married trans individuals to obtain a GRC without needing to divorce. This may provide forces with an increase in the number of staff with GRCs – it certainly will in my force. A priority, therefore, I feel for the association in the year ahead is to encourage forces to have clear guidance on this issue, along with having a formal transitional policy.
The ACPO group chaired by ACC Steph Morgan, Leicestershire has responded to our various suggestions and enquiries to deliver improved trans equality for both those inside and outside of the Police Service in a very positive manner. In addition, ACPO have written to forces to obtain details of their transphobic complaints so as to identify the lessons learned.
I’ve also engaged the IPCC suggesting they amend the way in which they report the gender of complainants, since trans individuals do not automatically fall outside of the categorise of male / female, and asked that transphobic complaints be included as per other complaint categories of discrimination. I’m hoping their next annual report on National Trans Police Association complaint statistics will reflect these suggestions – who knew that statistic reports could be so interesting!
Looking towards the future now, the NTPA has limited resources in terms of time, staff and money, so partnership working is vital to our success. Reflecting on the issues that the NTPA have assisted those inside and outside of the Police Service, over the past three years while I’ve held the role of Secretary, has allowed me to draft a trans equality action plan. I’ve based this plan on the Police Service’s reviewed Equality Standard, namely the Equality Improvement Model, so as to make it easier to for forces to implement given that it’s a framework with which they’re already familiar and are assessed upon.
By clearly identifying real steps that forces can take in the areas of operational delivery, people and culture and organisational process – we can empower those wanting to embed trans equality. I suggest in the years ahead the NTPA’s focus will be on working with our partners (ACPO, the College of Policing, local LGB&T staff associations, Community Engagement Partnerships Network, Association of Police Crime Commissioners and the Police Professional Body once formally established), to encourage forces to deliver trans equality more evenly across the service as a whole.
By showing how to close the gap between knowing and doing we can ensure that forces are afforded the opportunity to demonstrate how they really do value difference and lead on delivering trans equality in the public sector.
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to Greater Manchester Police who facilitated our attendance at Sparkle once again, and to West Mercia Police who have supported us in holding our AGM. I’d also like to thank all those on the Executive Committee, and NTPA membership as a whole, for giving up their time and their efforts to help in the work of the NTPA – to better help the police service serve our communities and protect them from harm.
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