The Daily Telegraph

Transgende­r effect skews crime data, says women’s group

- By Camilla Tominey and Joani Walsh

WOMEN are in danger of being overrepres­ented in violent crime statistics because the police are allowing offenders to choose whether they are recorded as male or female rather than by their biological sex.

A leading women’s group is predicting an upsurge in violent crime appearing to be committed by women after the National Police Chiefs’ Council has confirmed that when it comes to gender “we will accept the details that an individual provides to us and treat them accordingl­y”.

The move also has implicatio­ns for how officers must deal with transgende­r individual­s in custody. Body searches on a biological male who identifies as a transgende­r woman should be conducted by a female officer even though the majority of transgende­r individual­s are physically male.

“It could lead to an increase in violent and sexual crime committed by women when the perpetrato­rs are actually biological males,” said Dr Nicola Williams of Fair Play for Women.

“That could have a profound impact on how women are viewed by society, if they are seen to be becoming more aggressive, as well as on the allocation of resources.”

Freedom of Informatio­n requests by the organisati­on showed that 11 forces allowed people taken into custody to decide the sex by which they were registered.

Problems with how offenders are recorded were highlighte­d after a vicious assault on London’s transport network during the summer in which a man was beaten and suffered a broken eye socket. The alleged perpetrato­rs were described in a statement by British Transport Police as a group of four women. Questions were raised by the public, however, when footage appeared to show people with the physical appearance and strength of males although dressed as women.

A public consultati­on on the Gender Recognitio­n Act is under way to decide if people can “self-identify” as the opposite sex, rather than living as such for two years and obtaining a medical diagnosis as the act requires now.

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: “The police service recognises that people should be able to selfidenti­fy. However, officers apply a common-sense approach that reflects the individual circumstan­ces they are dealing with.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom