This letter is for candidates standing for Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire
As a candidate standing for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner in Cambridgeshire, I would like to ask about your commitment to supporting women and girls and their interactions with the police. When referring to women and girls, I mean biological females.
Recording the biological sex of the victim or offender is vitally important to both record keeping and the mental wellbeing of victims. No woman should be told that she has been the victim of violence or sexual assault by another woman, when she knows the person is biologically male. Yet currently police forces may record incidents based on the self-reported gender of the victim or perpetrator. Can you give assurance that you will use your position to ensure Cambridgeshire police always use the biological sex of both victim and perpetrator?
Although the government press release of 1st April 2021 announcing that the new Victims Code comes into force states that “Victims of rape and sexual violence can choose sex of police interviewer”, the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime states that “the police officer conducting the interview is of a gender of your choice”. A woman police officer should not be compelled to search a male victim or perpetrator however they identify. Neither should a woman, whether the victim or perpetrator of a crime, be forced to be searched by a male officer, however they identify. Will you support police officers, offenders and victims being allowed to request on the basis of sex?
Finally, do you believe that people born male, however they identify, should be housed in women’s prisons. Although specific prison policy may be beyond the remit of your role, your views on this reflect how you feel that women as a sex should be treated by the criminal justice system.
The role of the police and crime commissioners is to hold the force accountable to the community and build trust. Without an undertaking to use sex rather than gender it is very hard for many women to have trust that the police consider their interests.
I look forward to receiving your answers.