Police Scotland chief constable apologises to LGBT+ communities of Scotland

Jo Farrell said the way LGBT+ people in Scotland had been treated by the police was a matter of deep regret <i>(Image: free)</i>
Jo Farrell said the way LGBT+ people in Scotland had been treated by the police was a matter of deep regret (Image: free)

THE chief constable of Police Scotland has apologised to LGBT+ communities in Scotland for "policing’s role in enforcing laws which criminalised love and identity".

In a letter published on Wednesday chief constable Jo Farrell said "recent and historical" prejudice against LGBT+ people from those within the police force was a matter of "deep regret".

She said: "I believe passionately in the value that policing brings to our communities: keeping people safe from harm, protecting the vulnerable, bringing criminals to justice, solving problems, and reducing offending.

"We stand up for, and with our communities, which strengthens them, improves their wellbeing, and allows them to prosper.

"That value must be for all our communities. Everyone must know that when policing talks about keeping people safe, that applies to them. All must feel able to speak to the police, to report a crime or to share information knowing they’ll be treated with dignity and respect. I also want people from all communities to see policing as a potential career.

"It is a matter of deep regret that these values, over a period of decades have not always applied to the LGBTQI+ communities of Scotland.

"As Chief Constable, I would like to extend a sincere apology, for the recent and historical injustices and discrimination that members of LGBTQI+ communities in Scotland have faced. At times policing has not only failed to protect you but has contributed to the mistreatment and prejudice many have endured."

She added that it was her aim to create a police force "free from discrimination" and said specialist liaison officers would be reintroduced to work with the LGBT+ community in Scotland.

"Laws which criminalised love and identity were wrong, and policing must recognise and reflect upon our role in enforcing them," she wrote.

"I am truly sorry for the serious and long-lasting physical and mental pain and harm caused, both to my internal colleagues, and to our communities.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black has 'heard no detail' on SNP's independence strategy

"Police Scotland is determined to build an inclusive Service, free from discrimination, for all our communities.

"We will advocate for and support third party reporting to increase confidence and overall
reporting.

"We are empowering leaders to build inclusive teams; improving our education and training for all our officers and staff to ensure they understand and respect the issues facing the LGBTQI+ communities and on equality laws; focusing on our values and standards; and delivering a clear and consistent message that there is no place in Police Scotland for prejudice.

"And we will reintroduce specialist liaison officers to work with the community and support
officers and staff.

"It is important that we take responsibility for our actions to build a future where everyone feels safe and supported.

"I am dedicated to building a service that you can trust, one that is inclusive, respects diversity, and protects the rights and dignity of all individuals. I hope this apology can contribute to the necessary progress to ensure the value of policing is for all communities."

While homosexual acts between men in England and Wales were partially decriminalised in 1967 it wasn't until 1981 that homosexuality was legalised in Scotland.