PSNI urged to apologise for historic LGBT+ discrimination

PSNI urged to apologise for historic LGBT+ discrimination

The PSNI has been urged to join more than a dozen UK police forces in issuing an apology for historic discrimination against LGBT+ people.

Northumbria Police chief constable Vanessa Jardine has become the 16th UK police chief to issue a formal apology to the LGBT+ community in response to a campaign led by the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Ms Jardine, who leads on LGBT+ matters on the National Police Chiefs Council, offered the “official apology from Northumbria Police” in a letter to campaigner Peter Tatchell, in which she said she was “sorry [for] how past discrimination has undermined LGBTQ+ confidence”.

Similar apologies have been made by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Gwent, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, West Mercia, North Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Devon & Cornwall and Nottinghamshire forces.

Mr Tatchell said: “My immense gratitude to Vanessa Jardine for her forthright apology to the LGBT+ community on behalf of Northumbria Police — and for the positive, supportive and inclusive LGBT+ policies she set out in her letter to me.

“Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Vanessa Jardine didn’t hesitate or evade the need for a clear apology. That marks her out as a commendable police chief. We thank her and her officers.

“As the national LGBT+ lead on the National Police Chiefs Council she has an unparalleled insight into the harm caused by homophobia in British policing. We are grateful that she is asking all her fellow chiefs to commit to an apology. I hope all forces will now do so.”

He continued: “West Midlands Police, one of Britain’s most historically homophobic forces, has refused to say sorry, and so have North Wales. Greater Manchester and Liverpool Police have yet to respond to our requests.

“There’s also been no response from police chiefs in Scotland and Northern Ireland, despite repeated reminders. This sends a very negative, even hostile, message to the LGBT+ community.”

The #ApologiseNow campaign is continuing to urge all UK chief constables to apologise for their respective forces’ historic homophobic persecution in decades past. The Peter Tachtell Foundation said it is “chasing the remaining 29 police forces that have not said sorry”.

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