London

London police board drafts new policy after trans activist's 'swatting' incident

The London Police Services Board is steps away from adopting a policy focused on the human rights of transgender people during search and detention. The board is set to review and approve the draft policy on Thursday afternoon.

The policy would be the second of its kind for a major police force in Ontario

A woman stands in front of a white wall
Trans activist Clara Sorrenti feared for her life after London police arrested her at gunpoint Aug. 5. Police detained her for 11 hours after someone impersonating her threatened local politicians with violence. (Michelle Both/CBC)

The London Police Services Board is steps away from becoming the second major Ontario police board to adopt a policy focused on the human rights of transgender people during search and detention.

The seven-member board is set to review and approve the draft policy when they meet on Thursday afternoon.

The move comes a month after trans activist and internet broadcaster Clara Sorrenti publicly criticized police for her treatment while in custody for 11 hours. Sorrenti was a victim of a swatting arrest on Aug. 5, according to police investigators.

Sorrenti, known online as Keffals, was found not at fault after the swatting incident and has been a victim of international online harassment.

The 'Search and Detention of Transgender People' policy draft states, "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."

A London police services board policy draft
A draft of the London Police Services Board policy for the search and detention of transgendered people found in the LPSB public agenda for Thursday, Sept. 15. (LPSB Public Agenda)

Officers will also use "gender-appropriate" pronouns without jeopardizing officer safety, the policy reads. 

The police chief would be required to report statistics related to the search and detention of transgender people annually to the board.

London police declined an interview request from CBC News, saying London Police Chief Steve Williams would be available after Thursday's meeting.

The Toronto Police Services Board was the first in Ontario to adopt a similar policy, which was established in 2006. 

The new London policy board policy would require the police chief to report annual statistics related to the search and detention of transgender people, the policy draft states. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

now