There are particular practices that the police must employ when they are interacting with members of the Queensland Transgender community.

The guidelines within which the police must operate are set out in two main sources, the Queensland Police Operational Procedures Manual and the Good Practice Guide for Interaction with Transgender Clients.  The police must also act in a manner which avoids behaviour amounting to discrimination as provided in the Anti-Discrimination Act.

It is an offence for a police officer to discriminate against a Transgender person either directly or indirectly.  Under section 131A of the Act it is an offence to incite hatred/contempt/ridicule against a Transgender person or to encourage others to incite hatred/contempt/ridicule.  It is also an offence to threaten (or have others threaten) physical harm towards a Transgender person.  Fines and periods of imprisonment can apply if an officer is convicted of the offence.

Both the OPM and the Guide are updated and reviewed by the police from time to time and can be found on the QPS website (see the current links provided at the end of this blog).

The Guide explains to police the importance of respect and understanding of Transgender persons.  The police are required to abide by the following general principles:

  • Respect the Transgender person’s gender identity.
  • Respect the Transgender person’s need for privacy.
  • Reassure Transgender clients that confidentiality will be maintained; and
  • Recognise the difference between gender identity and sexuality.

An LGBTI liaison program has also been established by QPS.  The State Coordinator of the LGBTI program is located at the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch.  Police officers volunteer to act in the capacity of an LGBTI liaison officer and they are obliged to assist.

During all interactions with the police, a Transgender person has the ability to contact an LGBTI liaison officer for information and assistance.  This service cannot be unreasonably refused by the police.

Special procedures apply to the searching of Transgender persons (only an officer of the same biological sex can search the person) and detention (Transgender persons must be held separately from others whilst in custody).

If the police fail to uphold the guidelines or procedures as set out in the OPM or Guide, an alleged contravention should be immediately reported to QPS for investigation.  In some circumstances a complaint can also be made to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

In addition, a complaint can be made to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland. The ADCQ Commissioner can examine the allegations and are able to (where relevant) conciliate the matter or refer the matter to the ADCQ Tribunal for determination.

If a matter is referred to the Tribunal, the Tribunal may make Orders under the Act that the officer pay the complainant compensation for loss or damage caused by the contravention.

Current Link for the Act.

Current Link for the OPM.

Current Link for the Guide.