Transgender awareness training was given to more than 300 Humberside police recently to help them cope with an officer who had undergone a sex change.
The training was provided by Hull-based company Gender Shift (GS), which specialises in helping organisations and individuals understand transgender issues. It aims to help them comply with the 2007 Gender Equality Duty, which compels public bodies to do what they can to prevent discrimination and harassment.
GS director Rikki Arundel – who has had a sex change herself – was asked by Humberside police for advice on the issue.
“Bringing in outside help or using training services is the best way to handle trans-awareness education, because it is impersonal and will stick to the purpose of raising awareness and answering questions.”
The transgender workshop attended by members of Humberside Police was an interactive event that explored the history and changing rights of transsexuals through lecture, discussion, group exercises, handouts and online resources. It also involved a question and answer session in which transsexuals answered questions from the audience, “no matter how personal.”
Humberside Police refused to say how much the session cost, but GS workshops usually last half a day and cost £50 per person.
It is understood the WPC who has undertaken the sex change was a 42-year-old married man whose name is now Lauren.
Rachael Hookem, a spokeswoman for Humberside Police, said: “Kevin Sharp – the chief superintendent at that time – took the view that it was appropriate to arrange for all members of staff to be provided with information and advice on the issue.
“The briefings organised were arranged so as to minimise the impact on operational policing. Given the complexity of the issue and the responsibilities of the force as an employer, these were reasonable and appropriate decisions to take.”