ANYONE caught placing transphobic stickers on lampposts in Oxford could be charged with a public order offence, police have revealed.

In recent months transphobic stickers have appeared on lampposts and other street furniture across the city centre.

As a result, activists supporting transgender people have retaliated by removing the offending stickers and replacing them with supportive messages.

Thames Valley Police officers are investigating but so far no one has been arrested.

Oxford Mail:

A force spokesman said: “The incident is currently being investigated as a public order offence.”

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Oxford Pride chair Zayna Ratty has condemned the posting of transphobic stickers around the city centre including in High Street and Broad Street.

She said: “I would like this transphobic stickering to stop.

“As a society we should not condone or excuse what seems to be a negative intent behind these actions.”

Oxford Mail:

Ms Ratty earlier described the actions as ‘inducing hate crime’ and questioned why the force was not categorising the incidents under the hate crime heading.

The maximum sentence for threatening behaviour, the most common public order offence, is six months plus a fine.

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A hate crime, including hate speech, could attract a sentence of six months to three years’ imprisonment, or a fine.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Ratty added: “I’m not sure why this is being categorised as a public order offence instead of a hate crime.

“If it was a racist sticker then I think it would be classified as a hate crime.

“Why aren’t trans and non-binary people being afforded the same protection in law as other people on this occasion? Everyone should be treated the same.”

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Hate crimes against people who are transgender have soared by more than 1000 per cent in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

From September 2018 through to August this year, 12 transphobic incidents where a crime had occurred were recorded by Thames Valley Police.

The latest crime statistics for the city have revealed the sharp rise from the year before, where only one incident was formally recorded.

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In 2016 not a single crime motivated by the fact that somebody may be transgender was recorded in the city.

Oxford Mail:

Officially, transphobic incidents are recorded by police as hate crimes – alongside racially motivated attacks and crimes against the disabled.

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On the Crown Prosecution website, it says that transphobic crimes that are motivated by hostility will need key evidence that words, writings or postings are ‘targeting people of a particular sexual orientation or transgender identity’ before a charge can be made.

TVP’s statistics also show the amount of transphobic incidents reported to police where no crime has happened against a person. In the last 12 months, six were reported to the force – 50 per cent up on the previous year. A Twitter feed, Stickers Against Hate, has been monitoring the posting of transphobic messages.