What are my rights as a Transgender person when being searched by the police?

If you are a Transgender young person who has been searched by the police, there are some guidelines that should be followed.

  • If there is no doubt as to whether you should be treated as being male or female, you should be treated as such.
  •  If at any time (including during the search) there is doubt as to whether you should be treated, or continue to be treated, as being male or female:

i. You should be asked what gender you identify with.

ii. You should confirm your preference by signing the custody record, the search record or the officer’s notebook.

iii. If you are unwilling to express a preference, the police can make a judgement on your gender based on how you are presenting.

iv. Alternatively, you will be dealt with according to what appears to be your registered sex at birth.

Will my gender be recorded?

Your gender must be recorded in your search or custody record or in the officer’s notebook. 

However Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act makes your gender ‘protected information’ meaning the police cannot disclose your gender to any other person.

What happens if I am not treated according to my preferred gender?

Any reasons for not treating you by your preferred gender must be recorded in the search record, in the officer’s notebook, or if applicable, in your custody record.

If you wish to find out more about making complaints click here.

How can I make a complaint about how I have been treated during a stop and search?

If you think that you have been treated unfairly and feel you’ve only been stopped and searched because of your religion, your race, your appearance or for no particular reason you can make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman Office. You can:

• Phone the Police Ombudsman on 0845 601 2931 or 028 9082 8600
• Email info@policeombudsman.org
• Complete the PONI online complaints form here.

Can I be searched more than once in the same day?

There is nothing in law to prevent you being searched more than once in any day, as long as the legal requirements are fulfilled on each occasion.