Met 'sensitive' to Pride concerns around uniformed officers, says Sadiq Khan
Officers taking part in the parade itself are not in uniform
Police have been “sensitive” to concerns about uniformed officers taking part in the Pride parade, London’s mayor has said.
Sadiq Khan said while officers would be present on Saturday to keep people safe during the celebrations, those taking part in the parade itself are not in uniform.
In previous years officers from the Metropolitan Police have taken part in the parade in their work clothing.
Mr Khan said “clearly” the LGBT community has concerns around policing, referencing the investigation into the murders of four young men by serial killer Stephen Port.
In June it was announced that the police watchdog would reinvestigate the Met over their initial handling of the murders.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said there is evidence that its original investigation into the conduct of officers was “materially flawed”, with “new information” coming out at the inquests into the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor, held last year.
The inquests concluded that police failings “probably” contributed to the deaths of the three last victims, all of whom were unlawfully killed.
At Pride in London on Saturday, Mr Khan said: “I think it’s really important that anybody who’s from the LGBT community should be able to take part in this parade.
“Clearly, the community does have concerns around policing, we saw with the Stephen Port investigation the concerns that arose from the inquest and from the families of the four men who lost their lives.
“I think the police have been sensitive to the issues raised by the community and there will be uniformed officers in and around Pride to make sure we’re all safe, to make sure this parade is a success.
“But, clearly, those taking part in the parade from the police service won’t be wearing the uniforms.”
In a statement the Met said it had decided in April to take “a different approach” at this year’s parade, acknowledging that “a number of incidents in recent times have damaged trust and confidence in policing, especially amongst the LGBT+ community”.
The force said it had been decided that the Met itself would not take part in the parade “at an organisational level” but rather support those from its own MPS LGBT+ Network who wanted to participate.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes said: “I understand the concerns people have about the Met taking part in London’s Pride march.
“Everyone who is going to be in the parade has asked to be part of Pride as a member of our LGBT+ staff network.”