No Pride in Policing!

In shock news, Greater Manchester Police has pulled its rainbow livered pride car from appearing at Oldham Pride.

Crompton Liberal Democrat Councillor Louie Hamblett recently received the news as a member of Oldham Pride committee.

Cllr Hamblett said: “With a force now in special measures you would think they would want to be doing all they can to work with the community to rebuild trust and confidence in policing. Decisions like this from Chief Constable Watson seem counterintuitive and to drag policing backwards into its hard-line, unpassionate past.

“Supporting community groups goes hand-in-hand with active neighbourhood police work. Building good relationships with people means that police are more aware of what is going on locally, and have the knowledge and awareness to better combat crime that is affecting communities. This decision totally undermines that.”

GMP and the Pride Network (its LGBT+ staff network) were very proud to launch the world’s first rainbow liveried police car in 2015. The livery for this car was provided free of charge from GMP’s livery suppliers. The car has previously been very well received across GM and other Prides. In fact, the first use of the car was at Oldham Pride in 2015, just before it was used at Manchester Pride.

The co-chair of the Pride Network met recently with Chief Constable Watson to discuss continued Pride engagement. Chief Constable Watson provided his authority for officers to march in uniform at Manchester Pride and at other district prides, and for the Rainbow flag to be raised at district Police HQs for specific prides, also an ongoing authority for the rainbow flag to be raised for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Chief Constable Watson has previously stated in an earlier article does not permit the wearing of rainbow epaulettes or rainbow laces at Pride events. This was confirmed again in a meeting. Chief Constable Watson also confirmed that he did not support the use of the Police With Pride vehicle.

Despite the Pride car being used at Rochdale Pride, GMP have chosen not to use the car since. The local Neighbourhood team attended Tameside Pride recently in a standard liveried vehicle to support the event, which was well received. Officers from Oldham district will still be supporting the Oldham Pride event; community engagement will continue minus the car.

GMP’s engagement at Manchester Pride this year will be different to previous years. GMP will be following the approach taken at London Pride, with officers and staff from their LGBT+ network participating in the parade in network t-shirts and not in uniform.

Cllr Hamblett added: “I really sympathise with LGBTQ+ staff who will now feel they cannot show how proud they are to both work for GMP and be out as members of the community.”

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