police oxford
© Getty Images
Oxford is suffering a crime wave. Police are investigating numerous serious offences over more than six months. Thames Valley Police has issued this sweeping statement about unacceptable acts in the city:
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a number of public offences in Oxford.

Officers are investigating a large number of offensive stickers that have been placed across Oxford city centre containing transphobic comments. It is believed they started appearing in March 2019 within the High Street, Catte Street and Parks Road area.

Investigating officer PC Rebecca Nightingale based at St Aldates police station said: "Behaviour like this is not acceptable and we take incidents of this nature very seriously.

"I am appealing for anyone who may of witnesses these stickers being placed around the city or anyone who has information that may assist our investigation to call the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 43190163238 or report online.

"Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Sounds serious, eh? Makes you wonder what sort of hateful, poisonous messages were on those stickers. It must be something pretty horrible, to prompt a police force to make an appeal like this, right? Maybe those stickers were inciting violence? Or perhaps they were encouraging people to otherwise break the law?

Oddly, Thames Valley Police didn't explain in that dramatic statement exactly what sort of vile and hateful messages are on those "offensive" stickers. Even more oddly, when I asked the force what those stickers say, a press officer told me "the content and appearance of the stickers is not suitable for sharing."

Quite how the poor people of Oxford are supposed to respond to this I don't know: their police force have told them that a rash of offensive, apparently illegal stickers has appeared in the city and asked for information about who might be responsible. Yet the police won't actually say what those stickers say or what they look like. So how are civic-minded Oxonians supposed to know precisely which wicked words and harmful ideas they should be reporting to the constabulary?

Fortunately, the Oxford Mail did a bit of reporting and appear to have established the horrifying truth.

The "offensive" and "transphobic" messages on those stickers, those terrible, hateful stickers now under active police investigation apparently include these:
"Woman: noun. Adult human female"
"Women don't have penises"
Look at that Thames Valley statement again. It states clearly that "public offences" have been committed because the words on the stickers are "offensive".

Let us celebrate the fact that a police force is devoting resources to tracking down the awful people who have apparently broken the law by stating that "woman" means "adult human female" and that "women don't have penises".

Let us all think very hard about what it means that the police are now actively encouraging people to report as criminals anyone who displays those words in public. Let us thank goodness that Thames Valley Police have demonstrated for all to see what tackling the scourge of transphobia really means for our society.

And just in case you're wondering, no, this is not a joke. It's very serious.