The U.K.’s Sussex Police department has been blasted online following a series of tweets where the department seemed to protect the feelings of a convicted pedophile.
Many women's rights campaigners raised concerns that the convict, who is a male, would be housed in a women's prison.
The force said it would not “tolerate hateful comments about gender” after users criticized the language the department used when describing the 58-year-old transgender pedophile Sally Ann Dixon, previously known as John Stephen Dixon, as a woman.
Dixon was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court after being convicted of 30 indecent assaults against children in a seven-year period from 1989 to 1996.
Many users pointed out that Dixon was a “he” rather than a “she,” to which the department responded, “Hi, Sussex Police do not tolerate any hateful comments towards their gender identity regardless of crimes committed. This is irrelevant to the crime that has been committed and investigated.”
The account then referred critics to a page on their website defining what a hate crime is.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman took to Twitter, blasting Sussex Police’s handling of the case.
“@Sussex_police have done well to put a dangerous criminal behind bars. But they’ve got it wrong by playing identity politics and denying biology. Focus on catching criminals not policing pronouns. #commonsensepolicing,” Braverman responded to the now-deleted tweet.
Following the massive backlash, Sussex Police issued a statement relating to the posts, stating the earlier response was “inconsistent” with their usual style of engagement, and removed the comment.
“We reported factually on the findings of the court which heard that, at the time of the offences, Dixon was living as a man, John Stephen Dixon. The relevant offences were recorded as being committed by a male.
We recognise the rights of the public to express themselves freely within the boundaries of the law.”