Police impartiality undermined by Stonewall links

17 July 2020

Carys Moseley comments on the police’s close ties to Stonewall.

Free speech campaign group Fair Cop has drawn attention to the fact that the police is too closely linked to Stonewall. Via Freedom of Information requests to all 43 police authorities in England and Wales, it has discovered the levels of spending by the police on rainbow logos and other merchandise from Stonewall.

Policing must not be political

At the heart of Fair Cop’s unease with the police here is the moral principle that policing must not be political. The campaigners quote the Code of Ethics of the College of Policing, responsible for training police officers. This code states clearly that police officers must not be actively involved in politics. The reason is set out as follows:

“This is intended to prevent you from placing yourself in a position where your impartiality may be questioned.”

There is an obvious reason why the police must not be political. It is far too easy for political passions to take over from cooler level-headed judgement when handling potential crime situations. For example, the police often have to deal with public demonstrations and protests. The police cannot be seen to be biased in favour of one group of protesters against any counter-protesters. This would cause loss of trust in the police and could eventually lead to vigilantism as people decide to take the law into their own hands.

Public safety compromised

Fair Cop’s investigation into Stonewall is soon to be published as a report, which will no doubt be read closely by many interested parties. Its expression of concern comes a month after the Daily Mail reported that Hertfordshire police put out a call for a wanted sex attacker without indicating that this was a man wearing women’s clothes. The public was misled, and thus public safety was compromised.

This problem isn’t confined to the police. The Equal Treatment Bench Book, which advises judges on equality and diversity, tells them they must require rape victims to call rapists who identify as women ‘she’ in court. This merely adds insult to injury as far as victims are concerned. It forces everybody to lie under oath, thus undermining the whole practice of the law.

Who benefits: citizens or criminals?

Fair Cop is also very concerned that police forces pay Stonewall to be recognised as Stonewall Diversity Champions. This is hardly surprising as it has been shown up to cause serious problems in various kinds of workplaces including universities, big businesses and even the Crown Prosecution Service.

Why are police forces paying a dodgy campaign group that wants to force us all to lie about the sex of criminals? Who is benefitting here, citizens or criminals?

Somewhere over the rainbow

The old song goes “Somewhere over the rainbow…makes all your dreams come true.” In this case, the rainbow symbol is more associated with dystopian nightmares.

When police forces use Stonewall’s merchandise, they are sending out mixed signals about their commitment to public safety as well as public order. They are sending out a signal of favouritism, and of LGBT campaigning gaining privileges over other people’s basic needs. This is not a simple case of clashing rights. People who contact the police with information about crime need to be able to know and tell the truth. Police officers themselves can only do their job properly if they too are free to tell the truth.

Turning men into ‘women’ at their say-so

All this is very disturbing given that the Daily Mail recently reported that Rape Crisis centres in England are advertising for ‘self-identifying’ women to work for them. This is obviously going to undermine the morale of victims of crime, at a time when concerns about crime have been complicated by lockdown policies.

Stonewall has also recently taken over Welsh Government policy on transgender issues. Last week an announcement was made insisting that ‘Trans women are women’ – a Stonewall slogan. Contrary to prior caution over gender reassignment and gender recognition coming from the NHS in Wales, the lobbyists are now dictating policy. The Welsh Government has provided money for Stonewall Cymru to write a Transgender Action Plan for Wales. It remains to be seen how this will affect help for rape and sexual abuse victims provided in Wales.

Public opinion on self-identification

The police needs to be wary here. There is by now a wealth of evidence on public opinion on gender self-identification. Most recently the Times reported that more people oppose easing the law on changing gender than support it. It isn’t hard to see why given the problems relating to crime.

In essence, most people do not want a system of gender self-identification. A majority of people (47%) want gender reassignment surgery to be the condition for entry into single-sex spaces, whereas only 28% want easier gender change procedures. Nearly two thirds (63%) of people want a doctor’s approval to remain as the requirement for this, with only 16% opposed.

Time for accountability

The forthcoming report by Fair Cop is bound to be widely read across society, as these problems urgently require addressing. To whom is the police accountable? To a campaign group? Is it in the public interest for police organisations to be members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme or not? These and many more questions are the ones that need to be asked if the police are to retain integrity, trust and efficacy.

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