TUV and DUP reaction to PSNI appeal for ‘LGBT+ allies’

The PSNI says its officers should work in an “empowering safe space” as it urged everyone whom it employs “to be an ally of the LGBT+ community”.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 12:49 pm
The picture which accompanied the PSNI's tweet on Monday (it was not captioned with the names of the officers)

DUP MLA Trevor Clarke suggested the police should not be so selective in its support for different interest groups, pointing out that there will be no orange-liveried police vans on the Twelfth, in contrast to the PSNI’s strong backing of Pride parades.

Meanwhile the TUV said police are aligning themselves with LGBT+ lobbyists despite the “controversial ideas” some of its activists are pushing (such as allowing biological men into women’s sports) - ideas which are anathema to other campaigners, such as certain women’s rights groups.

In response the PSNI said it aims to “create a safe space for officers and staff to be their authentic selves”.

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The story begins on Monday of this week, when the PSNI posted the following message on Twitter:

“On International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia we are encouraging our officers and staff to be an ally of the LGBT+ community as part of our commitment to create an inclusive and supportive organisation.”

Whilst some Twitter users voiced support for the PSNI’s stance (including the National LGBT+ Police Network, @LGBTpoliceuk) the bulk of the comments were negative.

Typical of them was one Anne Blake (@annebla69517902) who said: “Why can you not do your job with impartiality? Stop supporting causes, that’s not your job.”

Mr Clarke condemned hate crime and said that he “sees no harm” in the PSNI letting its officers support LGBT+ causes, but added: “I think the police should be equal to everyone.

“We’re coming into the marching season. You wont see landrovers liveried up in support of the Orangemen walking on the Twelfth of July.

“You won’t see them at the Apprentice Boys of Derry. You won’t see them at other events either in support of people who have come under intimidation and attacks.

“I think if you support one, you should support all.”

He also questioned why officers who belong to certain organisations (like the Orange Order) must notify their bosses, but other memberships are not notifiable.

The TUV issued a statement meanwhile which said: “No one is going to take issue with calling out hate crime.

“One issue which arises from this is what exactly is an ‘ally’ which the PSNI are openly urging people to be? “

The party added that many LGBT+ activists “believe trans-women should be allowed to compete in women’s rugby, sit on women-only panels, and take up places on women-only shortlists; those are controversial ideas [that] many women’s rights groups have profound difficulties with”.

In response the PSNI told the News Letter: “An ally is a non LGBT+ person who supports people from the LGBT+ community.

“As an organisation we aim to be proactive around practices and policies that create a safe space for officers and staff to be their authentic selves.

“It is important that everyone in our organisation feels safe and empowered to be who they are both inside and outside of the workplace.”

The PSNI have in recent years allowed uniformed officers to march in Pride parades, and have had rainbow-liveried vans at them.

In 2019 the force also specifically launched a drive to try and recruit people from LGBT+ backgrounds, claiming they are “under-represented” (in contradiction of its own figures, which have shown they are slightly over-represented).

The latests stats show that in the year up to April 1, the PSNI dealt with 437 recorded “homophobic / trans hate incidents”, of which 280 were crimes.

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