Merseyside Police chief apologises to LGBTQ+ community

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Merseyside Police chief apologises to LGBTQ+ community

Apology in Response to Human Rights Campaign

Merseyside Police has formally apologized for its historical mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community. Chief Constable Serena Kennedy issued the apology following a letter from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell sent last year. Kennedy expressed her “sincere apology and deepest regret” to older members of the community for the “historical prejudice” they endured.

Decades of Victimization Highlighted

Peter Tatchell had called on all UK police forces to apologize for the “decades-long victimization” of LGBT+ individuals, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. According to Kennedy, the force’s apology came after “extensive consultation” with local LGBTQ+ community representatives. In her letter, she acknowledged the harm, unique impact, and erosion of trust caused by past police actions, stating, “Our mistreatment had the ripple effect across the whole LGBTQ+ community and the impact on their relationship with Merseyside Police.”

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Recognizing Past Injustices

Merseyside Police is the 18th UK police force to acknowledge homophobic victimization following Tatchell’s campaign, joining others such as the Met, Dorset, and North Yorkshire. Upon receiving Tatchell’s letter, Kennedy said she “immediately recognized the need to address past injustices” and acknowledged the harm caused by “over-zealous policing and behaviour, policies and processes that enabled homophobia to thrive at that time.”

Acknowledging Harm and Moving Forward

The police force admitted that the “homophobic application” of legislation at the time was misused, particularly targeting gay and bisexual men. This misuse of power “ruined lives” and forced LGBTQ+ individuals to hide their identities for fear of imprisonment. Kennedy expressed gratitude to those who shared their “traumatic experiences” with Merseyside Police over the past year, and she committed to “ongoing consultation” to better understand the impact and ensure continued learning from past mistakes.

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Commitment to Improvement

Merseyside Police now collaborates closely with LGBTQ+ representatives to improve the recruitment of officers and enhance the reporting and prevention of hate crimes. Kennedy’s apology and the force’s commitment to addressing and learning from past injustices mark significant steps toward rebuilding trust with the LGBTQ+ community.

JURIST: This source discusses the apology from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the institutional issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia within the force. It also includes insights from the campaign by Peter Tatchell, who called for these apologies. Read more on JURIST.

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