Mermaids revelation sends local police force into tail spin

Screenshot 2022-10-14 at 15.17.51

Mermaids, a Leeds-based charity which advocates for ‘gender variant and transgender youth’, has confirmed that they provided ‘support training’ to a group of officers from their local police force in 2019,  alongside others from Merseyside Police.

The training session was opened by then-Assistant Chief Constable of the latter force, Julie Cooke. Mrs Cooke retired from the police service in 2021 but now works on an ad-hoc basis for the absurdly woke College of Policing.

This revelation comes in a week when the newly installed Prime Minister, Liz Truss, heard calls for West Yorkshire Police to investigate the same charity over a lengthening list of safeguarding concerns and said ‘they should be properly looked at’.

The media spotlight has shone sharply on the Mermaids in recent weeks as claims surfaced in The Daily Telegraph that it has sent ‘chest binders’ to children without parental knowledge. The Charity Commission is presently investigating whether guidelines and regulations have been followed after receiving a number of complaints.

It is a ‘first step’ taken by the statutory regulator, not a finding of wrongdoing they say:

“Concerns have been raised with us about Mermaids’ approach to safeguarding young people.

“We have opened a regulatory compliance case and have written to the trustees. We now await their reply.”

A Trustee of Mermaids, Dr Jacob Breslow, resigned ten days ago after The Times reported that he spoke at a 2011 conference organised by a group that promotes support for paedophiles.

Moreover, the group’s online help centre has reportedly been offering advice to teenagers that hormone-blocking drugs are safe and ‘totally reversible’. A claim that, since June, 2020, the National Health Service (NHS) no longer supports.

The Department for Education (DfE) has ceased its recommending of Mermaids as a mental health and wellbeing resource for schools – and campaigning group, Christian Concern, has launched a new petition aimed at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, calling for trans guidance to be withdrawn from Church of England schools across the country.

In recent years, an increasingly ‘woke’ West Yorkshire Police has been quick to launch a number of hate crime investigations following complaints by Mermaids staff over posts and comments directed at, or about, them or their organisation on social media.

However, the same police has refused to comment on whether they will be investigating safeguarding concerns after they were raised by MPs in full public gaze at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The force has also declined to say whether it is still receiving training from Mermaids, raising questions over its impartiality.

‘Given the serious allegations of child safeguarding failures made against Mermaids in recent weeks, it is imperative that any investigation is seen to be impartial and transparent,’ Laura Farris, Tory MP for Newbury and a leading barrister who specialises in employment and public law, told The Daily Mail.

That may, of course, rule out WYP as the force ultimately appointed to mount any future investigation into Mermaids, even though actus reus would, in the event of any adverse findings, most definitely be at the very heart of their operational area.

West Yorkshire had the highest crime rate — 113 crimes per 1,000 people — of any county across England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year. Over half are crimes of violence and sexual offences, drug offences or for possession of weapons.

UPDATE: On 2nd December, 2022 the Charity Commission announced that they had launched a statutory inquiry into Mermaids four days previously (read full story here).

Page last updated Friday 2nd December, 2022 at 2000hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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