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Strip searches

A strip search must be pre authorised by the custody sergeant and will normally be conducted by officers of the same gender as the detainee. However, the following approach should be followed when establishing whether the detainee should be treated as being male or female for the purposes of strip searches and procedures:

If there is no doubt about whether the person concerned should be treated as being male or female, they should be dealt with as being of that gender. If at any time there is doubt about whether the person should be treated, or continue to be treated, as being male or female, the following stages should be considered:

  • The person should be asked what gender they consider themselves to be. If they express a preference to be dealt with as a particular gender, they should be asked to indicate and confirm their preference by signing the custody record
  • If there are grounds to doubt that the chosen preference accurately reflects the detainee's lifestyle, they should be treated according to what appears to be their predominant lifestyle and not their stated preference
  • If the detainee is reluctant to express a preference, efforts should be made to determine their predominant lifestyle and they should be treated in accordance with this
  • If none of the above apply, the detainee should be dealt with according to what reasonably appears to have been their gender as registered at birth

Once a decision has been made about which gender a trans detainee is to be treated as, the officer or staff member who will carry out the search should be advised of that decision, and the reasons supporting it, prior to the search. This is important in order to maintain the dignity of the officer or staff member concerned.

It is recommended that custody records that contain any reference to a gender recognition certificate for trans detainees (protected information) are secured against disclosure.

Trans detainees must always be accommodated in a cell or detention room on their own. This is normal procedure for any detainee in custody.