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The law needs to change to enable the police to accurately record sex

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Statement by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber:

Earlier this month I spoke about the need for clarity and accuracy following a case of sexual assault in Oxfordshire. The debate about the recording of sex and gender has remained in the spotlight following the conviction and sentencing of the vile murderer Scarlet Blake. 

Yesterday I wrote to the Home Secretary urging a review of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) which set out the legal framework for the way the police must deal with detainees. 

I must stress again that in both of these cases Thames Valley Police have been exemplary in safeguarding a vulnerable victim and bring a dangerous killer to justice. Whilst I have raised concerns about the press statements issued the operational response has been everything that we would want from the police. 

Nevertheless these cases highlight issues of public confidence and safeguarding that I believe can only be addressed through a change in the law. We must all expect the police to follow the law, and as currently set out, they are obliged to record self identified gender in the custody record and there is no legislative framework for them to record someone’s sex at birth. In my view this should change. 

Let us not forget that at the heart of both of these cases are real victims. Important though the subject is, we should all remember that lives have been seriously impacted and ended.

Download the letter to the Home Secretary