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Gloucestershire Police chief apologises to the LGBTQ+ community for ‘former injustices’

The apology came in response to the Peter Tatchell Foundation's #ApologiseNow campaign

By Dale Fox

Composite of police chief Rod Hansen and Peter Tatchell
Rod Hansen (left) and Peter Tatchell (Image: Gloucestershire Constabulary; Peter Tatchell Foundation)

The head of Gloucestershire Constabulary has formally apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for past discriminatory practices by the police force.

The apology, conveyed in a letter to LGBTQ+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, acknowledged the harm caused by the “over-policing and under-protection” of the LGBTQ+ community due to the enforcement of historic anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

“I am sincerely sorry for any former injustices and the devastating and traumatic impact this would have had on people’s lives and their confidence in the police service,” Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary Rod Hansen wrote.

He highlighted that Gloucestershire Constabulary is now “committed to being an anti-discriminatory organisation”, addressing “systemic inequalities” and promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion.

Latest in line of formal police apologies

Hansen’s apology follows similar steps taken by 13 other UK police chiefs, including those from the Metropolitan, City of London, and Nottinghamshire forces. The apologies are in response to the #ApologiseNow campaign initiated by the Peter Tatchell Foundation and supported by the late comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady.

Tatchell welcomed Hansen’s apology, stating, “Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Rod Hansen didn’t hesitate or evade the need for a clear apology. That marks him out as a commendable police chief. We thank him and his officers.”

He also expressed hope that the apology would foster trust and cooperation between the police and the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging more individuals to report hate crimes, domestic abuse, and sexual assaults.

Among the initiatives undertaken by Gloucestershire Constabulary are the appointment of a dedicated hate crime coordinator, the implementation of a “Language Matters” policy, the establishment of an LGBTQ+ staff network, and the celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month.