Merseyside Police have kick-started LGBT history month by wearing rainbow laces in their boots.
Officers from throughout the force are replacing the standard black laces for multi-coloured ones to mark the start of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History month.
The unique rainbow laces use the same colour scheme as the rainbow flag, which has been flown by the force for the past nine years to mark International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May and will be raised again on February 1st.
Officers of all ranks will be allowed to wear the distinctive laces throughout February as a show of support for our LGBT staff and also for our partner agencies who stand alongside Merseyside Police to end discrimination and to eradicate hate crime.
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: “As a force we have already pledged to do everything we can to support members of the LGBT community and tackle homophobic and Transphobic hate crime in Merseyside. The flying of rainbow flag of IDAHO is already a well-established tradition in Merseyside and the introduction of rainbow laces as a show of support for LGBT History month is another great initiative.
“We pride ourselves on being a diverse, fair and equal opportunities employer and the networks we have forged with support networks such as Homotopia and our GLSN have helped us improve the service we give to members of the LGBT community.
“Sadly, some people continue to be targeted because they are perceived to be different and it is important that victims feel confident enough in the police to report any hate crime incidents to us.
“We have made significant in-roads into addressing this issue through the establishment of our hate crime investigation ‘Sigma’ units, however there is further work to do to increase hate crime reporting and initiatives like this can only help demonstrate our commitment to this cause.”
Detective Constable Tracy O’Hara, chair of Merseyside Police’s LGBT network, said : “It is important for myself and other LGBT colleagues in Merseyside Police to see visible support from senior managers and those who do not identify as LGBT, wearing the rainbow laces.
“This is a team game and hopefully this will get people talking.
“LGBT history month is an opportunity to be visible in our stance against homophobia and transphobia. We have an established LGBT network however there are still those who feel unable to be out.
“Rainbow laces enable all staff to show their commitment to eradicating hate and discrimination in all its facets and that is what this is all about.”
During LGBT history month, members of Merseyside Police’s gay lesbian support network (GLSN) and Merseyside Black Police Association will be joining Homotopia and Liverpool’s Unity Theatre in welcoming a contingent of campaigners and academics from Poland.
The group will be looking at how LGBT cultural events such as Pride are organised in the city, how anti-discrimination is discussed in schools and universities, and how the emergency services and local councils work with charities to promote LGBT awareness.
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