Police told to use gender-neutral terms when speaking to members of public instead of sir or ma’am

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Aden-Jay Wood

By Aden-Jay Wood

Published: 18/04/2022

- 14:37

Updated: 18/04/2022

- 14:39

LGBT+ support training for officers is underway across the country

Police are being urged to use gender-neutral terms when speaking to members of the public.

Officers often refer to people as sir or ma’am, but training is underway for that to change.

LGBT+ support training for officers now tells them to “avoid assumptions about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity” and instead use the words “you, everyone or all”.

While officers are also being asked to refer to people’s partners without the use of “gendered terminology such as husband, wife, he or she”.

Police Scotland officers at an Anti-racism, pro-refugee demonstration  in Glasgow
LGBT+ support officers are being told to use words such as "you, everyone or all"
Andrew Milligan

Oliver Dowden has hit back at the scheme
Oliver Dowden has hit back at the scheme
Jonathan Brady

There are a reported 43 LGBT+ support officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hertfordshire Constabulary says 26 of its officers had the training with colleagues from Bedfordshire back in December last year.

Inspector Steve Alison, chairman of Herts Police LGBT+ Network, said: “This work is so important; nobody should be made to feel unsafe because of sexuality or gender identity.”

While Hertfordshire Police added: “Encouraging small actions by our liaison officers can go a long way to gaining the community’s trust.”

But the scheme has been criticised by some, including ex-officer Harry Miller, who believes it is “totally irrelevant to catching criminals”.

Tory chairman and MP Oliver Dowden also said that police should focus on fighting crime and “not wasting time trying to condition officers who extend a basic courtesy to the people they serve”.

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