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Half of police forces will record suspected rapists as their preferred gender identity, such as female, if they no longer wish to identify as a man.

A total of 24 out of 47 forces said the record of a suspect arrested or convicted of rape or sexual assault will not have to include their sex at birth.

But campaigners reacted with fury to the figures – released under a freedom of information request as part of an LBC investigation – accusing police of putting ‘the feelings of a perpetrator of a sexual crime’ ahead of their victims.

The Home Office Counting Rules, which provide a national standard for the recording of crime, do not contain any advice on the issue and practices differ among forces.

Out of 47 forces in the UK, 39 responded to the request, but many had different policies.

West Midlands and Kent Police said they would record both the ‘perceived’ and self-identified gender of the person.

Half of police forces will record suspected rapists as their preferred gender identity, such as female, if they no longer wish to identify as a man. A total of 24 out of 47 forces said the record of a suspect arrested or convicted of rape or sexual assault will not have to include their sex at birth (file photo)

Half of police forces will record suspected rapists as their preferred gender identity, such as female, if they no longer wish to identify as a man. A total of 24 out of 47 forces said the record of a suspect arrested or convicted of rape or sexual assault will not have to include their sex at birth (file photo)

Half of police forces will record suspected rapists as their preferred gender identity, such as female, if they no longer wish to identify as a man. A total of 24 out of 47 forces said the record of a suspect arrested or convicted of rape or sexual assault will not have to include their sex at birth (file photo)

Other forces, including Cumbria Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary, and West Yorkshire Police, said although they would usually record the preferred gender identity of an individual, rape would be an exception as the legal definition of the offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 requires the offender to have a penis.

The findings come after Police Scotland launched a review of their policy allowing male rapists to identify as female following an outcry from women’s organisations.

In December Harry Potter author JK Rowling tweeted in response to the force’s stance: ‘War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.’

Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, told LBC: ‘Rape is defined in law as an offence that only males can commit.

‘It makes absolutely no sense for the police to corrupt and undermine important national statistics by wrongly recording male crimes as female crimes.’

But some trans rights campaigners have pointed out that rape is not a purely male crime.

Joint enterprise laws allow accomplices of crimes to be charged with the same offences as the actual perpetrators.

As such, there are rare instances when a woman can be charged with rape.

Writer and campaigner Jane Fae said: ‘Rape doesn’t require a penis. In statute it refers to the use of a penis, however there is a thing known as joint enterprise, or accomplice rape.’

Maya Forstater, executive director of campaign group Sex Matters, said: ‘The most shocking thing about all of this is that the police will take the feelings of a perpetrator of a sexual crime ahead of the reality of the victim.

‘This could be about domestic abuse, it could concern cases of child sexual abuse. Imagine being the victim of that kind of crime and hearing the police and the courts calling your abuser a woman when you know that the person that assaulted you was a man.

‘The police just shouldn’t be doing this.’  

Source: Daily Mail

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