Welsh police force introduces gender-neutral uniforms to help trans engagement
A Welsh police force is set to introduce gender-neutral uniforms.
The more than 1,000 strong force in Dyfed Powys, will all be subject to the uniform change.
The helmets, hats, ties and cravats will all be made the same for officers or all genders under the new rules.
Part of the reason the force said it was changing its uniform policy was to be more inclusive of trans people and has implemented policies to encourage engagement with the trans community.
Efforts have been made to make facilities and the force more trans friendly by creating gender-neutral custody cells and toilets, and to avoid using gendered terms like policeman and policewoman.
Assistant Chief Constable Liane James said: “As a force we have learnt that there may have been times when our practices and procedures have adversely impacted our Trans communities and their engagement with us.
“This isn’t right. We have been actively working with these communities to improve our service to them,” James told the Mirror.
The same hat and neckwear is being brought in, the force says, to “minimise gender differences”, adding that gendered uniforms may force people to out themselves when they might not want to.
LGBT rights charity Stonewall praised the decision by chiefs at the 1,195-strong force.
A spokesman told the Mirror: “We know that LGBT people, and trans people in particular, don’t always feel confident that the police will understand their needs.
“It’s crucial therefore that police forces work with LGBT communities in order to improve services and it’s great to see this continued commitment from Dyfed Powys to trans-inclusion as an employer and service provider for all.”
But the move has been criticised by David Davies, a Tory MP, who said the new policy is “ludicrous”.
Davies said: “It strikes me as ludicrous and just a way of trying to win brownie points by pandering to minority groups.
“The only major difference in uniforms now are the hats but I don’t think minority groups are going to be bothered anyway about the headgear worn by men and women officers.”
“It’s a huge amount of work involved for no great gain.”