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Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Reassignment Force Policy

Date of request: September 27, 2020
Reference: 960/20


  • Copy of policy relating to officers / staff undergoing gender reassignment.
  • Copy of policy relating to trans officers / staff searching.
  • May I ask also if either of these policies are provided to potential recruits?

Clarification Q2:

Does your force require an officer who has transitioned to obtain a GRC in order to search according to their ‘acquired gender’, or are they permitted to search according to their ‘acquired gender’ irrespective of GRC status?


Please find attached our Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Reassignment in the Workplace Policy. This policy is available to all staff through our intranet however they would not be provided to potential new recruits.

There is no current policy regarding Transgender Police officers / Staff searching detainees. A report has been prepared in regards to this and it is currently being discussed by our Diversity and Inclusion committee.

In accordance with Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, guidance is required by Chief Officers for transgender officers to carry out their duty of searching detainees both lawfully without prejudice and within current guidelines.

This is relevant both in a custody environment for Police officers and Police Staff (Detention officers) as well as officers on Patrol carrying out stop search procedures under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act.

It should also be noted that to ask someone for their GRC would be a breach under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Please also find the below guidance form out intranet portal. This information would not be provided to potential new recruits.

Searching a Transgender Person:
Where a detainee has been granted a GRC they must, in every respect, be treated as a person of the new acquired sex recognised by the gender recognition panel.

Paragraph 3.1 states‘All stops and searches must be carried out with courtesy, consideration and respect for the person concerned. This has a significant impact on public confidence in the police. Every reasonable effort must be made to minimise the embarrassment that a person being searched may experience.’

Paragraph 3.6 states:  ‘Any search involving the removal of other than an outer coat, jacket, gloves, headgear or footwear, or any other item concealing identity, may only be made by an officer of the same sex as the person searched and may not be made in the presence of anyone of the opposite sex unless the person being searched specifically requests it.’

Where a male to female (or female to male, FTM) Transgender person asks to be searched by a female officer (or male in the case of FTM), then, the decision must be fully documented. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) the detainee will be exercising that right. Such a search will comply with paragraph 3.1 above by reducing any embarrassment to a minimum. In every case the force should respect the Trans persons requests as to what gender officer they are searched by regardless of availability, the potential for serious emotional damage to the Trans person should not be underestimated.

Particular sensitivity is required when searching someone who is in the ‘transitional phase’ of gender assignment. At this time they will be presenting in their preferred gender and they will feel that they are a person of that gender. They will still have the genitalia of their birth sex. For such a person being searched by an officer of the same birth sex can be traumatic. In this case the views of all parties to the search should be fully taken into account before reaching any decision on who should conduct the search.

For more information on the Avon and Somerset Constabulary offers to LGBT+ members of staff and the public, please visit

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