Police Scotland must record all rapists as men, say Tories

Police Scotland must record anyone charged or convicted of rape as male regardless of whether they subsequently seek to change gender, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

The party made the call following the high-profile case of a double rapist who decided to transition from a man to a woman while awaiting trial. Isla Bryson, previously known as Adam Graham, was found guilty of raping one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel in 2019, following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Bryson, 31, was initially remanded to HMP Cornton Vale women’s prison, near Stirling, to await sentencing next month. However, following a huge backlash, she was moved to HMP Edinburgh men's prison.

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A police spokesman confirmed Bryson was arrested and charged as a man and the crimes would be recorded as such.

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam GrahamIsla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham
Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham

But the Tories said SNP ministers must give the police “unequivocal direction” that rapists must always be recorded as male criminals because “in law, rape can only be committed by a male”.

Tory MSP Russell Findlay said: “On that basis, those convicted of this crime must not only serve their sentence in a male prison, but have their crime recorded as having been committed by a male.”

He added: “The police require unequivocal direction from SNP ministers that all rapists must have their offences recorded as a male crime. For them to be recorded otherwise would be grossly offensive and insulting to victims and all women.”

However, the Scottish Government stressed it did not have the “power of direction over Police Scotland”. A spokesperson said: “This was a deliberate choice during the passage of the 2012 Act to preserve the operational independence of the Chief Constable.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The sex/gender identification of individuals who come into contact with the police will be based on how they present or how they self-declare, which is consistent with the values of the organisation.

"Police Scotland requires no evidence or certification as proof of biological sex or gender identity other than a person's self-declaration, unless it is pertinent to any investigation with which they are linked as a victim, witness or accused and it is evidentially critical that we legally require this proof, or there is reason for further enquiry based on risk.”

It came as Nicola Sturgeon rejected the idea of a blanket ban on rapists being held in women’s prisons.

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The First Minister told The News Agents podcast: “I think as a general principle, somebody who rapes a woman should not be in a female prison. But I do think when we’re dealing with the prison population, generally, there needs to be that risk assessment approach. The danger of taking a blanket approach … is you end up having a different effect to the one you want, because you catch cases that should be dealt with in a different way.”

Elsewhere, she said some critics of her controversial gender reforms "cloak themselves in women's rights" to hide their bigotry.

MSPs passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill by 86 votes to 39 before Christmas, approving reforms which would allow trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) without the need for a medical diagnosis.

The Bill would also allow 16 and 17-year-olds to apply for a GRC for the first time, and would reduce the amount of time a person has to live in their acquired gender before they can be granted the document.

The UK Government has since moved to block the legislation amid concerns over its impact.

Ms Sturgeon told The News Agents: "I have heard people, politicians, claiming to be defenders of women's rights who I'd never heard defend women's rights in the past. In fact, I've heard some support policies ... that run counter to women's rights.

"We have legislation looming later in this Parliament on criminal justice reform to try to deal with issues of low conviction rates for rape and sexual assault, we are likely to be dealing with legislation in months to come around abortion buffer zones. And I think it will be interesting to see how many of the so-called defenders of women's rights in the context of the trans debate suddenly don't think that all women's rights are actually important.

"And there are some people that I think have decided to use women's rights as a sort of cloak of acceptability to cover up what is transphobia.”



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