LPS Board considers new search and detention policy following incident involving trans woman

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London might become the second large urban police service in Ontario to enact a board policy regarding the search and detention of transgender people.

A report going to the next meeting of the London Police Services Board (LPSB) includes the draft policy:

“The Chief of Police will ensure that when dealing with transgender or transsexual individuals, officers will be sensitive to human rights, privacy issues and use the stated gender identification preference of the individual being searched. Officers will also use gender-appropriate pronouns, without jeopardizing officer safety and the need to search.”

The proposed board policy comes in the wake of a high profile incident last month in London.

On Aug. 5, transgender activist and popular streamer on the website Twitch, Clara Sorrenti, was awakened at her downtown residence by heavily armed police who arrested her at gunpoint and seized computer equipment.

Transgender activist and Twitch streamer, Clara Sorrenti is seen in this undated file image. (File)

It was later determined to be a swatting incident, where false threats were made against city hall by someone impersonating Sorrenti in order to draw the armed police response to her home.

London police subsequently admitted to using the wrong name and gender when addressing Sorrenti.

Police Chief Steve Williams would later apologize.

A survey of the 12 largest municipal police services in Ontario discovered that only Toronto has a board policy related to the search and detainment of transgender individuals.

The proposed LPSB policy would also require “The Chief to report to the Board annually London Police Service statistics related to the search and detention of transgender people.”

The LPSB will consider the new policy at its meeting on Sept. 15.

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