Sussex Police apologize after row over status of transgender sex offenders

A police force has apologized after the home secretary accused them of “playing identity politics and denying biology” in relation to sex offenses committed by a transgender woman years before the transition.

Sussex Police had insisted they would not tolerate “hateful comments” about gender identity “regardless of the crimes committed” and advised a Twitter user who said she was exercising her gender-critical views to get acquainted doing what is considered hate on their website.

A few hours later, the force said a comment on their official Twitter account was “inconsistent with our usual manner of dealing” and has since been deleted.

The force said it recognizes the “right of the public to express themselves freely within the confines of the law.”

Responding to the first tweet, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the force should “focus on catching criminals, not policing pronouns” after Sally Ann Dixon, of Swanmore Avenue, Havant, Hants, was sentenced to 20 years in prison was after being convicted of 30 counts of indecent assault.

Police said the crimes against five girls and two boys took place between 1989 and 1996, when Dixon was known as John Stephen Dixon.

The 58-year-old, who was sentenced by Lewes Crown Court on September 8, later became a woman in 2004, Sussex Police said.

Sally Anne Dixon court caseSally Anne Dixon (Sussex Police Department/PA)

Some people on Twitter protested the force, which Dixon called “woman convicted of historic offenses against children in Sussex” in the headline of her press release.

In response to the comments, Sussex Police first tweeted that they “regardless of crimes committed will not condone hateful comments regarding their gender identity”.

“This is irrelevant to the crime that was committed and investigated,” it added.

In response, Ms Braverman tweeted: “@Sussex_police did a good job putting a dangerous criminal behind bars.

“But they are wrong in pursuing identity politics and denying biology. Focus on catching criminals, not policing pronouns.”

Karen Ingala Smith, founder of Femicide Census, an organization providing information on women killed by men in the UK, argued that “certainly, in crimes of sexual violence against children, the sex of the perpetrator is not irrelevant, for example in rates of perpetrators differ greatly by gender”.

She added: “Moreover, if crimes committed by men are recorded as crimes committed by women, then policy based on crime data is hopeless.”

Frances Crook, former executive director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, now co-chair of the Political Power Commission, said 15,000 men are in prison for sex crimes, compared to about 100 women.

She said attributing even a small number of male crimes to females “would skew the numbers”.

Sussex Police have since confirmed that the Dixon offenses were committed by a man.

In response to a Twitter user who said she represented her gender-sensitive views, Sussex Police said they could educate themselves about what is considered hate on their website, adding: “If you have gender-sensitive views , you can do this on other platforms or your own page that is not aimed at an individual.”

The directive prompted SNP MP Joanna Cherry to tweet to police: “I think you might want to familiarize yourself with the right to #FreeSpeech under #ECHR and the #HumanRightsAct and the protection of gender-sensitive beliefs that the Equality Act affords.

“You have no place to force women to talk.”

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Sussex Police said: “We have given a factual account of the findings of the court which has heard that Dixon was alive as a man at the time of the offences, John Stephen Dixon.

“The relevant offenses were recorded as having been committed by a man.

“An earlier reply to a comment on Twitter was not in our usual engagement style; We apologize and have removed the comment.

“We recognize the right of the public to express themselves freely, within the limits of the law.”

Welcoming the apology, Ms Cherry said it was the police’s job to “uphold the law not to police the #FreeSpeech of feminists or anyone on this matter at all”.

Dixon, who will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely, was also found not guilty of four counts of indecent assault.

Detective Constable Amy Pooley of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said Dixon met her victims through family connections and used that trusted approach to systematically abuse each of them for sexual gratification, in some cases for months at a time.

One victim turned himself in to police in 2019 and the officer said the case showed: “We will always investigate reports like this, no matter how long ago the events are said to be, to support the victims and see if we can get justice for them, wherever.” always the evidence justifies it”. Sussex Police apologize after row over status of transgender sex offenders

Fry Electronics Team

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