UK police to use 'gender-neutral' forms of address
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UK Police are being told not to call people ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’, but to use ‘gender-neutral’ forms of address.
Training for LGBT+ support officers advises them to ‘avoid making assumptions about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity’ and to use terms such as ‘you’, ‘everyone’ and ‘all’.
Under the heading How To Be LGBT+ Friendly, it says: ‘When greeting others avoid: ladies, gentlemen, ma’am, sir, girls, guys etc.’ In one training exercise, officers are asked to talk about their own partners without using ‘gendered terminology such as husband, wife, he or she’.
There are officers in the LGBT+ support network across the 43 forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Hertfordshire Constabulary said 26 of its officers had the training with Bedfordshire colleagues in December.
Inspector Steve Alison, chairman of Herts Police LGBT+ Network, said: ‘Our newly trained officers will now be out in their communities. This work is so important; nobody should be made to feel unsafe because of their sexuality or gender identity.’
Hertfordshire police said: ‘The LGBT+ community has faced huge discrimination. It is our job to help those in need. Encouraging small actions by our LGBT+ liaison officers, such as using gender-inclusive language, can go a long way in helping to gain the LGBT+ community’s trust.’
But ex-officer Harry Miller, of the Fair Cop free speech campaign group, said it was ‘totally irrelevant to catching criminals’.