In a recently issued guidance, police officers have been warned that they could be sacked for questioning a colleague’s gender. Here’s the full story.
The newly introduced “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy” by Surrey and Sussex Police seeks to align the forces with the public sector’s equality duty.
A Zero-Tolerance Approach
Under this policy, officers, staff, special constables, and volunteers are expected to adopt a “zero-tolerance approach” toward discrimination, including harassment based on gender identity.
Gender Questions Are Not Allowed
One of the key requirements of the policy is that asking “invasive questions about an individual’s gender identity” constitutes verbal harassment, potentially leading to disciplinary action.
There Were Oppositions
Critics, including former police officer Harry Miller, founder of the campaign group Fair Cop, argue that such policies divert police officers’ attention from their fundamental responsibility.
The Police Is Spending Time on Unwanted Issues
He said, “The police policy writers spend an inordinate amount of time down the rainbow rabbit hole of gender identity because it makes them feel important and progressive. It is much easier than the hard graft of catching criminals.”
The Goal of the Policy
By explicitly defining certain behaviors as harassment, the policy provides a framework for officers to navigate situations that could lead to discomfort or alienation among their colleagues.
While the policy aims to protect officers from uncomfortable situations, it has ignited a broader debate about the role of police forces in society.
Prioritizing Ideological Gestures
Last year, a report by the Policy Exchange think-tank highlighted concerns that some police forces were prioritizing ideological gestures over practical crime-solving measures.
Taking the Knee
The report suggested that actions like “taking a knee” and wearing partisan political symbols might detract from the perception of impartiality and efficiency.
This May Cause More Problems
Some critics argue that the policy could inadvertently stifle open dialogue, as officers may fear repercussions for asking genuine questions related to gender identity.
In response to criticism, a Sussex Police spokesman said, “Our policy is in line with thousands of other organizations across the country and meets our lawful obligations under the Equality Act, which includes gender as a protected characteristic.”
Social Media Users Shared Their Views
Several Twitter users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “This will inspire teamwork, not! ‘Officers’ who are more insistent on waving a flag than policing will move jobs every few months as they become more and more offended by people not ‘conforming’ to their view.”
Another user wrote, “The police have gone fully woke. There are only two sexes/genders. Male = Masculine and Female = feminine.”
(The current consensus in the scientific community is that gender is, in fact, a spectrum, even though it doesn’t usually appear that way.)
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Fractal Pictures. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.