Ontario Provincial Police have announced that they will no longer release the gender of someone charged with crimes or the gender of their alleged victim. This is part of a broader move to “be progressive in the change of times,” says OPP spokeswoman Sgt. Carolle Dionne.
Furthermore, police say they will no longer need drivers’ licenses or other documentation to list a person’s gender, as they will not be assuming gender at all.
Instead of using terms such as ‘47-year-old male’ or telling the public who the alleged offender targeted, everyone will be referred to in a gender-neutral manner.
“We’re using ‘the individual,’ ‘the accused,’ or ‘the driver,’ or ‘the suspect’ or ‘a person of interest,’ to remain gender-neutral,” Dionne said on Monday in a press conference.
According to CTV News, Dionne found, after a review of legislation, that the Police Services Act does not actually require information regarding a person’s gender to be made public. However, data regarding gender will still be collected for analytic purposes, despite it being wrong to make such assumptions, according to police.
There may still be times when police release the gender of a person, such as when police need help to find or identify a suspect, but even this information will later be removed from news releases.
“The focus is about an individual being charged in the courts as a result of their illegal activity. For example, an impaired driver — it doesn’t matter that it was a male or a female… the gender didn’t really play a role in there,” Dionne said.
Police are now undergoing training to avoid potential slip ups while they transition to working under this new policy.