"The Gay Police Association, a staff association recognised by the MPS, sought permission for officers to attend the Pride march in uniform. It was decided that it would be acceptable for officers to do so, subject to some safeguards. The safeguards relate mainly to risks that may arise by having off duty officers in uniform at an event policed by officers wearing uniform. The safeguards deal with these risks.
"The Pride march affords an opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of the MPS to a significant minority community. By enabling police officers to attend the event in uniform I believe that we are showing our commitment to a large audience of people from the gay communities of London. By so doing, we encourage people from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in the police. In addition, we build trust and confidence in communities that, in the past, may have felt that the MPS was less than sypathetic to the problems of homophobia that some have experienced.
"There are many precedents for police officers attending public parades, celebrations and events in uniform where they are not performing a 'policing' function. For example, officers have attended St Patrick's Day Parades in uniform for the past two years and Christian Police Association officers frequently attend churches, marches and prayer meetings in uniform.
"Gay police officers are involved in every aspect of police work. This is something of which the MPS is proud. In addition, we are proud that our officers feel able to identify themselves as being gay to their colleagues. This suggests that gay police officers trust colleagues to treat them with respect and dignity.
"The march is not political in nature in that it seeks to demonstrate the pride of the marchers in being gay. The decision was made after senior officers were satisfied that attending the event in uniform does not align the MPS to a political issue." (24 July 2003)
Cressida Dick, Commander for Sir John Stevens, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
AVON & SOMERSET CONSTABULARY
"The Avon and Somerset Constabulary took a decision to allow our officers to march in uniform should they wish to do so. This is in order to show support for the Gay Police Association in its aims to provide equal opportunitites for gay police service employees and promoting relations between the police service and the gay community.
"The march is not political in nature but is a celebration of diversity.
"Protecting the rights of minorities is central to the role of the police service and taking part in the London Pride March is seen as a public way of demonstrating our commitment to doing so." (11 July 2003)
"We are proud to support the Gay Police Association in its aims to provide equal opportunities for gay police service employees and to promote relations between the police service and the gay community. Granting permission to our employees to march in uniform at the London Pride March was part of our commitment to these aims and we stand by our decision to do so." (21 October 2003)
Sergeant Kevan Rowlands on behalf of Mr Steve Pilkington, Chief Constable, Avon & Somerset Constabulary
"Lesbian, gay, transgendered" flash on home page leads to:
"gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered communities (GLBT) :
"Hate Crimes such as racism and homophobia have been targeted by Bedfordshire Police in an effort to bring a better quality of life to members of minority communities.
"One such initiative is the introduction of gay and lesbian liaison officers (also known as Community Investigators) based in each division who liaise with other agencies to provide members of the GLBT community with a way to report hate crimes and offer support to victims of hate crimes.
"In addition to the liaison officers, all serving police officers in Bedfordshire have attended an awareness course relating specifically to issues affecting the GLBT community.
"To provide the best service to all members of our community we rely on the support of everyone, and the reporting of ALL hate crimes (telephone 01234 84 28 27), no matter how trivial you think the incident may have been, to assist us in providing adequate resources and officers." Bedfordshire Police Police website.
No formal reply from Mr Paul Hancock, Chief Constable, Bedfordshire Police
"It is important that we attempt to reflect the communities we serve and strive to have a greater understanding of those Communities, whether they be visibly different or 'invisible', in this case Gay.
"We have many Gay Police officers within our service, some who choose to be open about their sexuality and others who remain unable to disclose their sexuality because of fear of reprisals or discrimination.
"This discrimination in turn can lead to 'Hate Crime' of which we are obliged by the nature of our job to investigate and to police." (29 July 2003)
Shaminder Flora - Equal Opportunites Manager
Karen Cleg - Community Relations Inspector
Equal Opportunities Department
Mr Tom Lloyd, Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire Constabulary
The Bishop of Chester was investigated by the police in November 2003 after suggesting in an article in the Chester Chronicle that homosexuals should seek psychiatric help to reorientate their sexual desires. Cheshire Constabulary received a complaint from a member of the 'Lesbian and Gay Christian Association' against the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, saying that the article might incite people to turn against homosexuals. The organisation said it did not mind homosexuality being spoken of as sin, but objected to the argument that homosexuals were mentally disturbed.
However, Dr Forster has just spent eighteen months studying the condition, helping to write the Church of England report Some Issues in Human Sexuality - a guide to debate. He said: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option, but I would not set myself up as a medical specialist on the subject - that's in the area of psychiatric health."
Although there was no offence in law that had been broken, Cheshire Police actually took time off from chasing criminals to investigate the complaint, asking for advice from the Crown Prosecution Office. The Assistant Chief Constable, Graeme Gerrard, threatened "to speak to the reporter and the Bishop of Chester before considering any further action."
One day later, Cheshire Police were forced to issue a statement to say that the Bishop had committed no offence. Their website grudgingly admitted: "current public order legislation does not provide specific offences based on sexuality." It is astonishing that the police did not know that before they consulted the CPS and before they began an investigation which was pointless if not intended to distress the Bishop. Or perhaps they were hoping the CPS would come up with something. The word 'current' rather looks as if they are hoping for such legislation in future.
Rather than apologise to the Bishop, the Chief Constable of Cheshire, Peter Fahy, afterwards went on the attack: "We need to be very aware of the position of minorities in the County and make sure diversity is celebrated; vulnerable minorities should feel they are protected." With the Bishop completely exonerated, and the absence of any offences relating to 'sexuality', what on earth did he mean? How does he intend to celebrate what he describes as 'diversity' but Almighty God describes as abomination? It is almost as if he thinks 'hate crime' is already in force.
No formal reply from Mr Peter Fahy, Chief Constable, Cheshire Constabulary.
CITY OF LONDON POLICE
"The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 requires the City of London Police to review existing policies and procedures for compliance with the legislation; and to put in place a mechanism to ensure new policies are consulted upon (internally and externally), comply with the Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act." No visible extension of race to include 'sexual orientation' and no obvious promotion of homosexuality on the website
No reply from Mr Frank Armstong, Commissioner, City of London Police
"Cleveland Police took the view that we would not object to any of our officers who were attending the march wearing their uniforms if they so wished.
"Whilst there is no intention to insult any groups values and beliefs it must be recognised that all police forces in the UK, including Cleveland Police, serve an increasingly diverse society. As such we try to represent this diversity in the staff we employ,. This includes people with various sexual orientations as well as religious beliefs.
"Cleveland Police hold numerous public meetings whereby the community we serve are invited to attend and raise any issues they may have." (30 September 2003)
Mr R Hogg, Deputy Chief Constable for Mr Sean Price Chief Constable
Mr Sean Price, Chief Constable, Cleveland Police
"I, as a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers, support the philosophy of strong local policing and the operational independence of Chief Constables, it is committed to leading a police service that delivers a first class professional and ethical service to all members of the community regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Securing the trust and confidence of all sections of the community through the elimination of discriminatory practices and the development of appropriate policing methods remains crucial to the delivery of effective policing.
"Other than restating the position of the Association of Chief Police Officers to you I have no intention of writing separately or meeting with you and now regard this correspondence closed." (7 October 2003)
Mr Michael Baxter, Chief Constable, Cumbria Constabulary
Website does not appear to be promoting homosexuality. No formal reply from Mr David Coleman, Chief Constable, Derbyshire Constabulary
DEVON & CORNWALL CONSTABULARY
"Stop hate Crime: A hate crime is motivated by prejudice against someone's sex, racial heritage, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Incidents can involve violence, threats, property damage, verbal abuse, offensive messages or other harassment." (Website)
"I do not believe a meeting with officers in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to discuss a nationally agreed move would be fruitful." (22 September 2003)
Nigel Arnold Deptuty Chief Constable for Maria Wallis, Chief Constable, Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
"The Chief Constable is very supportive of officers wishing to attend any such public event. With regard to officers wearing uniform, it is the general expectation in Dorset that officers attending any such public event involving a march or parade would not be wearing uniform unless they are policing the event in an operational capacity.
"Dorset Police has an active diversity strategy that sets out the Force's intention to deliver a first class ethical service with integrity, treating everyone fairly and valuing everyone regardless of ethnic origin, religious belief, gender and sexual orientatin, disability or social background.
"In pursuing the above aim the Force has actively committed Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers who work with the community of Dorset to tackle all issues affecting this vulnerable group. The LAGLO officers have been reponsible for staffing a drop-in centre and attending many events and functions in support of this valuable work."
Copy Press Release on behalf of Mrs Jane Stichbury, Chief Constable, Dorset Police
Durham Constabulary will strive to be a caring organisation. In this regard we will consult widely with a broad cross- section of the people who live and work in the Force area, including minority and hard to reach groups to determine our policing priorities and ensure that our service delivery standards are in accordance with best value principles.
Listed below is some Durham Constabulary initiatives:
- The development of ethnic liaison forums in all of our divisional policing areas. These groups consist of key people from the Black and minority ethnic communities across Durham County and Darlington.
- The development of a force wide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender forum. It is wholly representative of these hard to reach groups.
Both of these initiatives were developed to establish these communities views on police policy and practice, which includes the investigation of race, homophobic and hate crime incidents. " Mr Paul Garvin, Chief Constable, Durham Constabulary
"I refer to your letter dated 8 July 2003. For your information, I have not allowed my officers to attend this event on 26 July 2003 for the simple reason that I believe that uniform should only be worn when on duty.
"As a lifelong practicing Catholic who has seen service in both the military and police force all my working life, I must advise you that I find your views morally offensive and totally reprehensible and I would be grateful if you would cease any further communication with me." (14 July 2003)
Mr Terence Grange, Chief Constable, Dyfed-Powys Police
"Essex Police is justifiably proud of the support it offers to staff from all minority groups including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered officers. We believe that our open policy encourages members of minority groups to consider the police service as a real career option and therefore in-turn enhances our policing of an increasingly diverse society.
"The Chief Constable, along with many others across the country, decided that any officer wishing to attend the Pride March should have the opportunity to do so in uniform if they so chose. We are proud that any officers who chose to attend, whether in uniform or not, could do so in the knowledge that they had the full support of the Chief Constable and his staff.
"The Pride event is an occasion, which has received special consideration. It is an apolitical event, which seeks to highlight the human issues." (14 August 2003)
John Broughton, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations) for Mr David Stevens, Chief Constable, Essex Police
"I would suggest that your concerns are better addressed to the Association of Chief Police Officers working group lead on these issues." (22 September 2003)
Craig Mackey, Assistant Chief Constable for Dr Timothy Brain, Chief Constable, Gloucestershire Constabulary. Website does not appear to be promoting homosexuality.
"Gwent Police did indeed take the position that any officer wishing to attend this event in uniform would be authorised to do so. We believe it is important that our Organisation is one which welcomes applicants from all parts of the community to help us police what is an increasingly diverse society. There is no doubt that in the past we have had difficulty building confidence amongst the gay community and if we can encourage more members of that group to see policing as a realistic career option it can only assist in making us a more effective organisation.
"I do appreciate the concerns expressed that this was a political event and certainly we will be considering the conduct of the march on the 26 July if we are asked to support any future initiative." (18 September 2003)
W.J. Horne Assistant Chief Constable for Mr Keith Turner, Chief Constable, Gwent Police
"Mr Kernaghan, the Chief Constable's position is, that participation in any non ceremonial march by officers in uniform is inappropriate.
"With respect to the National Pride March he did not grant permission to any offier to wear official uniform in connection with their attendance at the event. However he did indicate that he had no objections to Hampshire officers participating in the march in their own time and wearing civilian clothes.
"The Force is committed to delivering an appropriate and professional service to all section of the communities we serve. The GPA personnel are a source of strength both internaly and crucialy externally, in ensuring that that commitment is translated into practical work on the ground." (22 September 2003)
Laurie Rickwood (Inspector) Staff officer to Chief Constable for
Mr Paul Kernaghan, Chief Constable, Hampshire Constabulary
"It was my view that it was not the subject of the parade, which was at issue, and it was never a question of gay rights. Rather I was concerned to preserve the perceived impartiality and safety of my officers who would have been in another force area without the usual communications support
"It was therefore my decision that they should not be allowed to wear uniform whilst marching in this, or any other such parade no matter what the issue.
"I should add that I am a srong advocate of the Service Approach to welcoming and valuing diversity. I am very supportive of our local Gay Police Association and they were aware of the rationale for my decision." (26 September 2003).
Mr Paul Acres, Chief Constable, Hertfordshire Constabulary
Website: Hate Crime Reporting Scheme >
"Are you affected by HATE because of who You are or what YOU believe in?
"Do YOU live in fear of physical violence or other abuse at home?
"Have YOU been attacked because of YOUR Race, the colour of YOUR skin or YOUR sexual orientation?
"If you have answered YES to any of the questions above then you are a victim of HATE CRIME. HATE CRIME [including DOMESTIC VIOLENCE] should not be tolerated by our society. Within the Humberside Police Force area agencies both statutory and voluntary are working with the Humberside Police to stop Hate Crime happening.
"If YOU are the victim of this type of Incident, if someone YOU know is a victim or if YOU witnessed such an incident, then PLEASE use the form to REPORT INCIDENTS of a RACIAL, DOMESTIC or HOMOPHOBIC nature."
No formal reply from Mr David Westwood, Chief Constable, Humberside Police
"ACPO have limited their response to an explanation of why they consider this issue to be a matter for individual Chief Constables.
"Kent Police's Chief Constable at that time, Sir David Phillips, echoed this by delegating the matter to the relevant officers who were organising the Kent Police input into the London Pride Rally. I can confirm that those officers, entirely of their own accord, elected to decline to march in uniform at the rally." (10 October 2003)
Acting Inspector Antony Ball Staff Officer to the Chief Constable for Sir David Phillips, Chief Constable, Kent Constabulary
Website (search for 'hate crime'): As part of its new Community and Race Relations Strategy, Lancashire Constabulary has launched a new policy that will improve the methods that local communities can use to report incidents and the way the force records and investigates racist and homophobic incidents.
Effective from 1 April, the new Racist Crime and Racist Incidents Policy will help the force to identify and respond quickly to those crimes or incidents which are likely to damage community harmony and to be proactive in their resolution. The principles and procedures contained within the plan are being applied to the reporting and response to all hate crime such as homophobic crime and domestic violence.
Superintendent Alf Hitchcock, who manages the Community and Race Relations Project said: "Under the new policy the identification and recording of a racist or homophobic incident is based on the perception by any person that the incident is racist or homophobic. If any person believes that an incident was racist or homophobic it must be recorded as such on our central system."
Recognising that some people in the community may not wish to report an incident directly to the police, the Constabulary will be introducing a special form that can be used to report racist or homophobic incidents at sites such as places of worship, housing offices, lesbian and gay switchboards.
No formal reply from Mr Paul Stephenson, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary
"I would advise that the Leicestershire Constabulary has a Lesbian & Gay Police Association which has the support of the Chief Constable"
Jill Sharpe, PA to Mr Matthew Baggott, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Constabulary
"None of my officers sought my permission to wear uniform on the march although had they, I would have agreed to it.
"Much of what you say in the judgements and assumptions you make emanate from a view of the world that I neither understand, share or find palatable into today's world, although fully defend (whilst it remains legal) your right to express such views. As my views are so far from yours I am unable to reply to most of your questions in detail because I reject the basis upon which you ask them or the astonishing leap of logic they contain.
"By way of a general answer which will give you a flavour of where am coming from, I can say that as distressing as you may find it, by no means everybody (inside or outside the police service) considers that if you are gay you are a 'pervert' and not everyone is Christian or even recognises the existence of God. The police service needs to and does recognise the validity of diverse approaches to life and must recognise them without making damning judgements. In doing their job considerations as to sexuality, race and gender (whether straight, gay or transsexual) or any other physical characteristic or legal approach to lifestyle are an irrelevance.
"As an Assistant Chief Constable in Sussex Police when it was the first force in the country to advertise in 'The Pink Paper' for recruits, I am proud to have helped increase the recruitment of gay people into the service and welcome applications from anyone suitably qualified (including gay officers ) into this Force.
"I hope my reply makes it very clear to you what my approach and that of Lincolnshire Police is to this issue." (11 July 2003) Mr Richard Childs, Chief Constable, Lincolnshire Police
GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE
"Thank you for your letter regarding the National Pride Parade in London. I can confirm that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police gave permission for the officers from the force to take part in the parade in uniform.
"The force was happy with officers from Greater Manchester Police to take part in the parade and believes their participation is an important indicator of the changes we are making to become a truly inclusive and representative force."
Anthony Kane, Chief Superintendent for Mr Michael Todd, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police.
(The National Director of Christian Voice also had a telephone call from a police sergeant to tell him that his letter of complaint had been logged as a 'hate incident.' How cool is that?)
Website: > Key Issues > Hate Crime > lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans leads to: "Europride: Europride Manchester 2003 was a great event for GMP and we generated a lot of interest in the Hate Crime and recruitment campaigns that we ran over the course of the festival. You can still see copies of the Community Briefing newsletter we produced for the event by clicking on 'Europride News' on the right hand side of this page.
"Congratulations to the Gay Police Association, who took part in the Europride parade (the first time lesbian and gay police officers had taken part in an LGBT parade in Manchester). The positive response from the public to their participation was overwhelming, and this was reflected with them being presented with the Best Walking Entry Award by the organisers."
No apparent promotion of homosexuality on the website, but no formal reply from Mr Norman Bettison, Chief Constable, Merseyside Police
"Oficers from the Constabulary were allowed to march in uniform although none in fact chose this option. I thought it might be useful to reiterate for your information the views of our professional association, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). On 24 July the following position statement was agreed:
"The Association supports the philosophy of strong local policing and the operational independence of Chief Constables. It is committed to leading a police service that delivers a first class professional and ethical service to all members of the community regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Securing the trust and confidence of all sections of the community through the elimination of discriminatory practices and the development of approapriate policing methods remains crucial to the delivery of effective policing.
"The Association also recognises that the service it represents is an employer of some significance and, as such, it strives to ensure that all elements of its diverse workforce are treated with the same degree of integrity and respect as the members of the public it serves.
"With these considerations in mind, the decision to sanction the wearing of uniform by officers participating in the London Pride Parade 2003 was agreed to be a matter for individual Chief Constables' discretion." (14 August 2003) Simon P Taylor, Assistant Chief Constable for Mr Andy Hayman, Chief Constable, Norfolk Constabulary
In their 'Diversity Strategy' booklet, Norfolk Constabulary use the expressions 'LGBT' and 'homophobia' but despite a 'network of trained Gay Liaison Officers throughout the Constabulary', and the 'development of third party reporting processes for homophobic incidents', they admit to a 'low number of homophobic incidents reports, just 42 in 2002.'
NORTH WALES POLICE
"I refer to your letters of 8 July and 13 September.
"Owing to the unreasonable, inaccurate, and abusive nature of your letters, I am afraid I am unable to provide you with a comprehensive response.
"Your voice is not Christian." (18 September 2003)
Clive Wofendale, Assistant Chief Constable for Mr Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable, North Wales Police
NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE
"In relation to the questions you raise, I can confirm that we have given our Officers permission to attend this event and should they wish to do so, to participate in the event in uniform. This decision was not taken under duress from any political group, but in the full and frank appreciation of the value to our organisation and therefore the people we serve, of employing a wide range of individuals from a range of diverse backgrounds. The practice of celebrating the diversity of our staff and the communities we serve is not one that we will shy away from and we will continue to actively support all staff and make efforts to recruit the best people to be both Police Officers and Police Staff irrespective of any aspects of diversity.
"It is a vital part of the role we play to protect all people from intolerance, ignorance and bigotry and to make every effort to educate people who display these attributes." (23 July 2003)
Kathy Anderson, Diversity Development Advisor for Miss Della Cannings, Chief Constable, North Yorkshire Police
"After a great deal of consideration I decided, on behalf of Northamptonshire Police, that Officers would be allowed to march at the forthcoming event in full uniform. Whilst I respect your views, as stated in your letter, I also respect the opposing views of those Officers who are members of the Lesbian and Gay Police Association and serve within the Force. I see it as part of my role to actively seek to consider and support the views of officers, irrespective of their association with the many diverse groups that make up our society of today.
"By allowing these particular Officers to take part in this event as they request, I believe the Force is clearly not only supporting individual desires, but it is also demonstrating its commitment to valuing diversity amongst all members of the community within which we serve." (16 July 2003) Mr Peter Maddison, Chief Constable, Northamptonshire Police
"Northumbria Police supports, and is proud of, the diversity in its work force." (22 September 2003)
Chief Inspector J Lingwood, Staff Officer to Chief Constable, Mr Crispian Strachan.
"We have noted your views on this matter." (17 July 2003)
Howard G Roberts, Deputy Chief Constable for Mr Steve Green, Chief Constable, Nottinghamshire Police
The Nottinghamshire police website goes overboard on 'homophobia':
The website links: Crime Prevention > Harassment > Homophobic Incidents lead to a webpage encouraging homosexuals to report 'homophobic incidents' ("0800 0 85 85 22 Homophobic Incident Reporting Line") and listing homosexual contact groups including the forces own 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Consultative Group', where a number is given for presumably a homosexual police officer.
"Harassment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender people is a CRIME", yells the website, but does not define 'harassment'.
The website asks: "What are homophobic incidents?" It goes on:
"Homophobic incidents are any offensive conduct or behaviour aimed at individuals or groups because of their sexuality or presumed sexuality. (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender).
"Some forms of homophobic incidents, such as homophobic abuse, insults and threats are obvious to everyone. Other forms may be less obvious, for example: damage to your property, children being bullied at school, malicious complaints or anti-social behaviour directed at you.
"Obvious or not, homophobic harassment may cause feelings of anger, frustration, isolation, helplessness and fear. If you are a victim it is important to know you are not alone and that help is available.
"What do the police treat as homophobic incidents? Nottinghamshire Police clearly define homophobic incidents as: ANY INCIDENT WHICH IS PERCEIVED TO BE HOMOPHOBIC BY THE VICTIM OR ANY OTHER PERSON.
"If you, or someone you know, have been subject to any sort of homophobic harassment the police will deal with it as a homophobic incident. There are no exceptions to this no ifs, no buts. IF YOU SAY IT'S HOMOPHOBIC, IT IS" (All capitals, grammar etc as original)
"Report homophobic incidents," encourages the webpage, "Some victims of homophobic incidents wonder whether an incident is serious enough to be reported to the police. All homophobic harassment is serious. No one should have to put up with it."
Harassment, violence and insults dealt out by homosexuals, against Christians or ordinary members of the public, is obviously far less serious a matter to Nottinghamshire Police.
SOUTH WALES POLICE
No obvious promotion of homosexuality on the police website under the charge of Sir Anthony Burden, Chief Constable, South Wales Police. A home page weblink labelled 'freedom' got us really excited - the police aren't usually too keen on that. But it only led to a page on the 'Freedom of Information Act.' Hopes dashed.
SOUTH YORKSHIRE POLICE
"This force is determined to reflect the commuity it serves, and therefore welcomes officers into the force regardless of their sexual orientation. The force also has a policy that uniform is only to be worn on official duties and appropriate civic/ceremonaial occasions at which the member of staff is representing the force in an official capacity. It would therefore be inapproporiate for an officer to wear his or her uniform at the 'Gay Pride' march in indeed at any other non-official/ceremonial occasion." (15 July 2003)
"It was our considered opinion that this was not political rally merely an opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) people to celebrate the diversity of the community they serve and to redress the bigotry prevalent amongst some sections of society." (6 November 2003)
Meredydd Hughes, Deputy Chief Constable Mr Mike Hedges, Chief Constable, South Yorkshire Police
Staffordshire Police, is "committed to eradicating all crimes of hate including homophobic crime." "We need victims and witnesses to tell us about incidents," they say, and they need "information on homophobic activity." As Staffordshire Police (in a common pastiche of the Lawrence Report definition of racism) define a "homophobic incident" as "any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person," then it is obvious that a motivated activist could define any preaching against homosexuality - or even information such as contained on the Christian Voice website or our briefing paper - as "homophobic activity."
No formal reply from Mr John Giffard, Chief Constable, Staffordshire Police
"We actively encourage gay men and women to join us. In relation to my position in respect of this particular event, I made the decision that should staff request to attend the march in uniform I would consider each application on its merits. As it happens no such requests were made." (6 October 2003)
Mr Alastair Mcwhirter, Chief Constable, Suffolk Constabulary
"Surrey Police had agreed that if there were gay members of staff wishing to attend the march, then they could do so in uniform, and their behaviour should be in keeping with a ceremonial duty.
"There were many reasons for this decision and it was taken after careful consideration and discussion with gay staff within the organisation. We have a responsibility to police all people in a fair and equitable manner, whatever their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or ability. Many crimes go unreported because the police have been stereotyped as homophobic and, being fearful of the reception they will receive, victims do not report incidents to us. By allowing officers to parade in uniform, we are sending a clear and reassuring message to our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender communities, that we are continuing to build and improve relation." (1 October 2003)
Robert F Quick, Deputy Chief Constable for Mr Denis O'connor, Chief Constable, Surrey Police
Sussex includes Brighton with its large homosexual population. Sussex have a 'Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual Diversity Policy Specialist' and their diversity page links to the 'Gay Police Association.' Mr Ken Jones is the Chief Constable of Sussex Police
THAMES VALLEY POLICE
"The police representation on the gay pride march was organised by the Gay Police Association 9GPA, all officers who took part, 4 of whom were from the Thames Valley Police are members of GPA.
"The Gay Police Association has three organisational aims namely; to work towards equal opportunities for lesbian and gay police service employees, to offer advice and support to lesbian and gay police serice employees, and finally, to work towards better relations between the police service and gay community.
"The Gay Police Association has a long established record in meeting these stated aims, and is supported by the Home Office in its efforts with a financial grant, principally because, in the National Policing plan, issued by the Home Secretary, the police service are required in paragrah 4.14, to 'work towards increasing the trust and confidence of all sections of the community.' In allowing Police officers to march in uniform, Thames Valley Police made a clear statement both to the gay community and to members of staff that the force is committed to working towards the national policing plan.
"With reference to your comments about the march, I have spoken to some of the Thames Valley Officers who took part, all of whom feel that the march had a relaxed an vibrant atmosphere and was most certainly not intimidating and aggressive." (24 September 2003)
Mr Peter Neyroud, Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police
Press Release 12/11/2003 on the Warwickshire police website:
Police wins (sic) funding to combat crime: Four Forces, including Warwickshire, have together won , 90,000 in Home Office funding to support the victims of hate crime, particularly racist and homophobic hate crimes. The True Vision initiative will use the funding to develop an easy to use self-reporting pack to encourage hate crime victims to come forward in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and West Mercia.
Carolyn Went, Diversity Co-ordinator at Warwickshire Police explained the reason behind the initiative: "Hate Crimes are particularly vicious crimes as the victim is not chosen at random but is targeted for example, because of their colour, race, appearance or sexual orientation.
"It is felt that many victims of Hate Crime suffer in silence for various reasons. We hope this project will encourage and increase reporting of hate crimes and give us a True Vision of the level of crime so that we can target our resources where they are most needed in consultation with the local communities affected."
Warwickshire Police have also set up a 'LGBT forum.'
In reply to our letter: "The issue you raise is an internal matter, and therefore you will understand that it would be inappropriate for me to comment." (17 July 2003) Bob Golding, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations) for Mr John Burbeck, Chief Constable, Warwickshire Police.
WEST MERCIA CONSTABULARY
"We need to encourage those in minority groups, who are traditionally amongst the more vulnerable members of our society, to place faith in the Police Service. In this way, we hope to be able to identify and address issues of hate crime." (21 July 2003)
Ian Arundale, Acting Deputy Chief Constable for Mr Paul West, Chief Constable, West Mercia Constabulary
WEST MIDLANDS POLICE
"West Midlands Police is committed providing a service that delivers a first class professional and ethical service to all members of the community regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Securing the trust and confidence of all sections of the community through the elimination of discriminatory practices and the development of appropriate policing methods remains crucial to the deliver of effective policing.
"West Midlands Police strives to ensure that all elements of its diverse workforce are treated with the same degree of integrity and respect as the members of the community it serves.
"With these considerations in mind, the decision to sanction the wearing of uniforms by West Midlands Police officers participating in the London Pride Parade was authorised. (3 October 2003)
Sergeant Asghar Ali Shah, Chief Constable's Office for Mr Paul Scott-Lee, Chief Constable, West Midlands Police
WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE
"We want to encourage diversity and welcome those who can reflect that diversity within the Force. Your letters suggest that your views would add little to that aspiration." (10 October 2003)
Steve Smith, Assistant Chief Constable for Mr Colin Cramphorn, Chief Constable, West Yorkshire Police
No obvious promotion of homosexuality on the website, but no reply from Dame Elizabeth Neville, Chief Constable, Wiltshire Constabulary.