A TRANSSEXUAL officer with Essex Police is suing the force claiming she was forced to "out" herself over a police radio system.

Pc Emma Chapman, who was based at Southend, says she was forced to tell an operator she was a transsexual over the force radio.

The 44 year old alleges that Essex Police did not do enough to help officers understand transgender issues or investigate her claims properly, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.

Her claim centres on three incidents since October last year when she had to speak to the police force's control room via her radio handset and an operator did not believe who she was, claimed she had a male voice.

Pc Chapman claims that she was forced to reply that she was a transsexual.

Essex Police denies the allegations, which are currently being considered by an employment tribunal at the East London Tribunal Court.

PC Chapman, who was born male, underwent gender reassignment in 1999.

At the time she was serving as a volunteer officer with the force and went on to become a full time constable four years later, working in the response team.

Her legal action is being backed by the Police Federation, for whom she acts as a constables representative in Essex.

PC Chapman is seeking compensation and a declaration of discrimination by the force.