Pride in London organisers say uniformed police officers are not welcome after 'homophobic investigation'
Pride in London wish to bar uniformed Met Police officers from tomorrow's event after branding Scotland Yard's handling of the Stephen Port case homophobic
Organisers of Pride in London say uniformed police officers should be barred from participating in the parade, following calls from LGBTQ+ campaigners to ban them due to Scotland Yard's "homophobic" handling of the investigation into the serial killer Stephen Port.
The announcement follows comments from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said the reinvestigation into the Stephen Port case, by the independent police watchdog, demonstrated "institutional homophobia is alive and kicking in the Metropolitan Police”.
Mr Tatchell said the case followed a string of recent revelations of homophobia, racism and misogyny in the police, indicating how Pride of London needed to take a firm stand on officers' participation in the parade.
The regular guest on GB News added how if the Met Police had conducted a detailed investigation in the wake of the murder of Port's first victim, Anthony Walgate, the three other young gay men Port went onto kill would still be alive.
A damning report revealed how the Police failed to form a connection between the deaths which occurred between June 2014 and September 2015.
This is despite linking similarities and the fact that three of the men were found in St Margaret’s churchyard, Barking, metres from Port’s home, while the fourth was found outside his flat.
Campaigner Mr Tatchell said: “While there are many good officers, and they are welcome to march in civilian clothes, Pride needs to challenge the police as an institution, otherwise they will never reform.”
Pride in London have since released a statement saying: “We work hard to strike a balance between the very real and legitimate concerns from members of our community, and being as welcoming as we can.
"We agree that the police uniform undermines that balance, and as such we are aligned that it should not feature in our parade.”
Organisation the Gay Liberation Front, who were responsible for organising the first Pride march in 1972, has also signed an open letter demanding for an end to not only the police taking part in the parade but also patrolling the celebration.
The letter, initiated by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, says: “The organised presence of police at Pride en masse provides a platform to an institution that represses us.
"Having a police presence at Pride as well as patrolling Pride, makes Pride unsafe for our community.”
The letter and Mr Tatchell also called for Pride in London to ban the Home Office over the deportation of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, and fossil fuel companies for exacerbating the climate crisis.
Mr Tatchell added: "Their participation in Pride today is wholly inconsistent with the original liberation ethos of the first Pride in 1972".
The comments from the human rights campaigner came as he prepared to retrace the route of the first UK Pride march in London, from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, in an event to marks its 50th anniversary on 1 July.
A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Taking part in Pride is important for LGBTQ+ colleagues within policing.
"It allows LGBTQ+ people to see that they are represented in the police service and it is an excellent public engagement opportunity where we can promote safety messages, understand community concerns and recruit from diverse communities.”