Questioning Police and Crime Commissioner candidates

Picture courtesy of Terry Kearney

Gender Critical‘ asked the candidates for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner some women-focussed questions. Which candidates believed that sex matters?

The shocking finding was that there were no responses from candidates in three of the four regions contacted by ‘Gender Critical.’ Not from North Wales, South Wales, or Dyfed-Powys. Merched Cymru agree with ‘Gender Critical’:

We don’t think this is acceptable from people who are standing for election and when there are frequent complaints that turn out for this important position is historically always low.

Gwent’s response led ‘Gender Critical’ to give a ‘no recommendation’, which means that “candidates did not answer the questions properly/were fence-sitters or evasive.”

One of our members contacted Labour’s Philippa Thompson, candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner  for Dyfed-Powys.

Our member asked about:

  • violence against women and girls
  • misogyny as a hate crime
  • recording crime statistics accurately i.e. based on sex not gender/gender identity

Here’s the reply she received:

Thank you for your question. The need for safer communities has been brought into sharp relief by the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and the national conversation on women’s safety that followed. Welsh Labour wants to make Wales the safest place in Europe to be a woman, and we will help keep our communities safe by putting 100 more Police Community Support Officers on our streets, funding 600 in total across Wales. We will also strengthen the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy to include a focus on violence against women in the street and workplace as well as the home, and expand the ‘Ask and Act’ and ‘Don’t be a Bystander’ training and awareness campaigns.

I’m not completely clear about what you explain about sex and gender. If your concerns are about trans rights then I’d like to assure you that securing basic human rights for the trans community does not mean the reduction in the rights for anyone else. Welsh Labour and the Welsh Labour Government has firmly stated that trans women are women, trans men are men and that non-binary identities are valid. Equality for me means everyone should be able to decide who they are.

No doubt the candidate is sincere. And at least she replied. But her lack of understanding of the difference between between sex & gender/gender identity, and between women and men who identify as women, is seriously problematic, especially in the context of running for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner.


After posting this blog, we recieved the following response from Jeff Cuthbert, who is standing in Gwent. We asked him about the issues involved in crimes being recorded by gender rather than sex, and the practice of placing men who identify as women in women’s prisons.

He responded:

Thank you for contacting me.

The questions that you raise are not ones that I have a fixed view on. I would need advice on, for example, the potential consequences of a particular charging or recording decision. Having said that, I am prepared to discuss the matter further with the Chief Constable and perhaps you also.

Neither am I sure if this is a matter for a PCC. Normally it is for the Home Office to decide on what should be recorded in order to ensure consistency across the UK.

I’m sorry if my response is not one that you wanted but, as I say, I would be happy to discuss further if re-elected as the PCC for Gwent.

We had hoped for greater awareness of such an important contemporary issue in policing and criminal justice, but at least he responded, unlike so many others.