UK Police Force Apologises for Warning Public Not to Misgender Convicted Paedophile

UK Police Force Apologises for Warning Public Not to Misgender Convicted Paedophile
An undated file photo of a British police officer. (Nick Potts/PA)
Owen Evans

An English police force has apologised for telling people not to make “hateful comments” about a transgender sex offender’s gender identity after the home secretary told them to “focus on catching criminals not policing pronouns.”

On Tuesday, Sussex Police posted on Twitter a news piece with the headline “Woman convicted of historic offences against children in Sussex” about Sally Ann Dixon.

Male-born Dixon, who identifies as a woman, was recently jailed for 20 years for sexually abusing seven children aged between 6 and 15. At the time of the offences, Dixon was called John Stephen Dixon.

Writing about the seriousness of his crimes, Detective Constable Amy Pooley of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said, “Dixon came to know these vulnerable young children successively through family connections, and used that trusted access to systematically abuse each of them for sexual gratification, in some cases for several months at a time.”

But several members of the public on Twitter criticised the force’s use of the word “woman” in the headline.

“This is a man committing sexual offences against children“ and ”this is not a female crime,” they wrote.
Sussex Police responded by posting: “Hi, Sussex Police do not tolerate any hateful comments towards their gender identity regardless of crimes committed. This is irrelevant to the crime that has been committed and investigated.”
When a member of the public asked if expressing gender-critical views was a crime, the official police account posted an article on “what is hate crime?” telling them to “familiarise yourself” with the subject, while insisting that airing gender-critical beliefs must not be expressed on the platform.

“If you have gender critical views you wish to express this can be done on other platforms or your own page, not targeted at an individual,” police wrote.

The exchange prompted Home Secretary Suella Braverman to berate the force via Twitter.

“@sussex_police have done well to put a dangerous criminal behind bars. But they’ve got it wrong by playing identity politics and denying biology. Focus on catching criminals not policing pronouns,” she wrote.

Consequently, the police deleted the exchanges and apologised on Tuesday evening. They also changed the headline to the initial post to “Twenty-year sentence for historic sex offences.”

“An early reply to a comment on Twitter was inconsistent with our usual style of engagement; we apologise for this and have removed the comment. We recognize the rights of the public to express themselves freely within the boundaries of the law,” they wrote.

On Sept. 8, the Daily Mail reported that serial child sex offender Dixon, who began transitioning to female in 2004, is being sent to a women’s prison despite not being legally recognised as female, meaning Dixon does not have a gender recognition certificate.