Saturday, 9 February 2008

Rise in anti-gay Police complaints

The BBC reports that there has been a rise in the number of anti-gay complaitns from within the Police. The results come from the Gay Police Association which says it received 350 calls to its helpline last year, compared with 260 the year before. It estimated that there were about 7,000 homophobic incidents among police last year, but intimidated officers were reluctant to report them. The BBC states: 'Chairman of the Gay Police Association Paul Cahill said: "We've had officers refusing to work with gay officers but also slightly more sinister expressions of homophobia.
"We had situations where colleagues would come in to work and on parade would openly state their religious opposition to homosexuality and would even quote sections of the Bible. [This was] completely out of context with being at work and on parade.
"Many gay officers quite rightly felt that was an attempt to intimidate or harass them.
"But the officers behaving in that way would say 'we were asserting our right to freedom of religious expression' - albeit that it was questionable in the context in which it was raised, the timing and the manner in which it was raised."
This is clearly a significant issue not only within the Police but for seeking to improve relations with the LGBT community. It is hard to convince people that Police strategies which include the raiding of cruising and cottaging locations together with high visibility (and sometimes high handed) policing of gay social spaces (i.e bar/club areas), is about improving LGBT safety rather than a practice which seeks to undermine or stop the said activities.

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