Rainbow flags flown at Southport Police Station

ots rainbow gay flag southport

Rainbow flags were flown across police stations on Merseyside on Friday, 16 May in support of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

For the sixth consecutive year, Merseyside Police is flying the rainbow flag, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘freedom’ flag and has been used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride since the 1970s.

On the 17 May, 1990 the World Health Organisation finally removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders and IDAHO has been celebrated throughout the world ever since.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Darren Martland raised the flag at Merseyside Police headquarters in Canning Place on Friday, alongside partners from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, Navajo, trans groups, SING and Citysafe, with police stations with flag poles following suit.

The ceremony sends out a strong message that the force will not tolerate crimes motivated by hate and prejudice, and will also champion Merseyside Police as being an equal opportunities employer.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Darren Martland, said: “Flying the rainbow flag is a visible sign of our dedication to eradicating homophobia and homophobic crime.

“This forms part of our larger commitment to tackling hate crime in all its forms and we want the message to be clear to victims and offenders that offences involving disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police.”

Merseyside Police is continually striving to raise awareness of hate crime in all of its forms. The force continues to encourage victims and witnesses of hate crime to report it to its dedicated ‘SIGMA’ hate crime investigation unit who will investigate each case with professionalism and sensitivity and provide ongoing support as the case goes to court.

T/ACC Martland added: “The rainbow flag signifies pride and inclusivity. As we strive to be one of the best police forces in the country we must continue to recognise and embrace differences while ensuring we treat all people fairly and equally.

“This will help to highlight Merseyside Police as one of the top employers for LGBT people and that we represent the diverse communities we serve on a daily basis.”

Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, said: “Tackling all forms of hate crime is one of my priorities. Flying the rainbow flag at stations across the Force is a clear and visible sign that we will not tolerate homophobia or transphobia here on Merseyside.

“I am proud that Merseyside Police is committed to recognising the specific needs, issues and barriers facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people across Merseyside.  This was recognised when the Force was awarded the Navajo Chartermark last year.

“Nobody should suffer abuse, fear or intimidation because of their sexual orientation, transgender, disability, race or religion. As we raise the flag to mark IDAHO day, I want to reassure all LGBT people to know that here on Merseyside you will be listened to, supported and helped if you come forward following an incident.”

DC Tracy O’Hara Chair of Police’s LGB and T network, said: “Showing our visible support for International day against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia clearly demonstrates our commitment to eradicate crimes perpetrated against Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender people. We take all forms of Hate Crime seriously and our Sigma teams robustly investigate Hate Crimes in all its facets.

“Hate Crime continues to be under-reported across all the strands and by flying our flag we are encouraging people to report all crimes and incidents to us. I work in the hate crime field and it is clear to me that by working with our partner agencies the PCC community engagement teams and the CPS we can bring offenders to justice we can provide support to victims and continue our work in the field. This is the sixth year we have flown the Rainbow flag and we do this to show our stance and to demonstrate that we are an inclusive diverse workforce where we can all be ourselves. I am proud to work for an organisation who has these values.

“In a world where some countries still deem it illegal to be perceived to be gay, IDAHO provides a platform for all of us to make a powerful statement to demand improvements for quality of life and human rights across the world in this international battle against discrimination and persecution.”

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