John Finlay: Any PSNI claim to be impartial rings hollow in light of gay pride participation

Pictured at the launch of the Policing with Pride vehicles are (L to R)  Superintendent Emma Bond, PSNI Hate Crime Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris and Anne Connolly, Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board
Pictured at the launch of the Policing with Pride vehicles are (L to R) Superintendent Emma Bond, PSNI Hate Crime Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris and Anne Connolly, Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board

This is a letter that Alderman Finlay has sent to the PSNI:

Dear Chief Constable

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

I am writing to express my alarm and disgust that uniformed police officers will be taking part for the first time in the Gay Pride parade in Belfast on Saturday 5 August.

It is one thing for a member of the PSNI to participate as a private citizen, but quite another to participate as a representative of the PSNI.

When the PSNI replaced the RUC, much emphasis was placed upon the need for a modern policing service which was rigorously impartial and seen to be impartial.

Any claim by PSNI to be impartial now rings very hollow indeed.

How can the PSNI be regarded as impartial when it formally and openly associates with one specific section of society? In this case, it is associating itself with a militant grouping which is lobbying for radical changes, not only to the definition of marriage, but to how society views human sexuality in general.

You must surely be aware that many in our community are strongly opposed, on grounds of conscience and religious belief, to the demands of the gay pride campaign for same sex marriage. And yet you have agreed to PSNI involvement in Saturday’s parade.

The PSNI have stressed the need to address hate crime against members of the gay community.

As a Christian, I abhor any hate crime directed against anyone, but tackling hate crime does not then require members of the PSNI to openly identify with a celebration of a lifestyle with which many people in Northern Ireland would disagree.

An act of witness and protest against the gay pride agenda will be taking place in Belfast city centre on Saturday.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, for those involved in that event to have any confidence in the impartiality of the PSNI. I would also be interested to know if any arrangements have been made to facilitate any police officers who might wish to participate in this act of witness.

Many people have already suggested that the PSNI should now encourage its officers who are Orangemen to take part in the Twelfth in full uniform.

The annual Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry parade will take place in a few weeks in Londonderry. Surely uniformed PSNI officers should take part in that parade in order to identify with the Protestant population of the west bank who have suffered much from hate crime over the years.

I could make many more suggestions. I suspect you will dismiss them, but a precedent has been set.

As an elected representative, I am being inundated with complaints from constituents about this matter.

There is considerable anger at what the PSNI is doing.

I would therefore be grateful for a response that I can share with my constituents.

Alderman John Finlay, Cloughmills

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