Met Police chief apologises to LGBT+ community for force’s homophobic failings

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has issued an apology to LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell and the wider community for the force’s historical homophobic failings. The apology comes in the wake of a report by Baroness Casey in March, which exposed racism, misogyny, and homophobia within the Met Police. Tatchell described the apology as a “ground-breaking step forward” and hopes it will encourage other police forces to follow suit.

In his letter, Sir Mark acknowledged that the Met Police “had systems and processes in place which have led to bias and discrimination in the way we have policed London’s communities, and in the way we have treated our officers and staff, over many decades.” He also recognised that there is still work to be done in rooting out individuals who continue to hold racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic views within the organisation.

Tatchell expressed his gratitude to Sir Mark for being the first UK police chief to issue an apology, adding that it would help to build trust and confidence between the LGBT+ community and the police. This, in turn, would encourage more individuals to report hate crimes, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

The apology coincided with the launch of the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s #ApologiseNow campaign, which calls on all UK police chiefs to apologise for the historical victimisation of the LGBT+ community. The campaign was supported by the late television personality Paul O’Grady, who passed away in March. During the launch event, a video featuring O’Grady was shown, in which he urged the police to apologise for their past abusive and sometimes illegal treatment of LGBT individuals.

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Peter Tatchell, originally from Australia, has been a human rights campaigner since his teenage years, advocating for various causes, including the rights of Australia’s Aboriginal people. After moving to London in the 1970s, he continued his activism, protesting against public figures such as boxer Mike Tyson, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey. In 1999, Tatchell attempted a citizen’s arrest on former Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe over human rights abuses but was severely beaten by Mugabe’s bodyguards. Tatchell has been the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation since 2011.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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