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London police chief apologizes for force's history of homophobic persecution: 'Ground-breaking step'

In a significant milestone, he has publicly expressed his remorse for the mistreatment of the LGBTQIAP+ community by the London Police.

London police chief apologizes for force's history of homophobic persecution: 'Ground-breaking step'
Image Source: Youtube | Guardian News

Historically, many institutions have been homophobic, but few are making amends now and realizing their history. The London Police Chief stands as a shining example of this transformation. In a significant milestone, he has publicly expressed his remorse for the mistreatment of queer people by the London Police.

Sir Mark Rowley, the esteemed U.K. police chief, has become the first to extend a formal apology to the LGBTQIAP+ community. He has also sworn to remove “racists, misogynists, homophobes, and transphobes” from the U.K. police. It is a special moment as the commissioner read this letter in the House of Commons. He had written this letter to Peter Tatchell. Tatchell is at the forefront of the #ApologizeNow campaign that aims at receiving apologies for homophobic persecution, reports LGBTQ Nation.



 

“The Met has 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. Recent cases of appalling behavior by some officers have revealed that there are still racists, misogynists, homophobes, and transphobes in the organization, and we have already doubled down on rooting out those who corrupt and abuse their position," he said.



 

“I am clear that there is much for us to do. I am sorry to all of the communities we have let down for the failings of the past and look forward to building a new Met for London, one all Londoners can be proud of and in which they can have confidence,” Rowley added.

“We thank Sir Mark Rowley for being the first U.K. police chief to say sorry,” Tatchell responded. “His apology is a ground-breaking step forward that will, we hope, spur other police forces to follow suit. It draws a line under past Met persecution. This will help strengthen LGBT+ trust and confidence in the police, encouraging more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic violence, and sexual assault.”



 

Rowley added, “We are not asking the police to apologize for enforcing the law but for the often illegal and abusive way they enforced it. Officers raided gay bars, clubs, and even private birthday parties, insulting LGBTs as ‘poofs’ and ‘queers,'" per The Guardian.

"They gave the names and addresses of arrested gay men to local papers, which led to some being evicted, sacked and violently beaten. Police harassed LGBTs leaving gay venues and arrested same-sex couples for kissing, cuddling, and holding hands until the 1990s."



 

The Met police commissioner said, “Acknowledging our failings and apologizing to those we have let down has been an important first step before we start a new chapter at the Met. I have been clear that we need to change, both in the service we provide to Londoners and in the need to create an inclusive and diverse workforce.”

The U.K. police are not the first police to issue a formal apology for its homophobic persecution. The New York Police Department issued an apology too. It came to be known as Stonewall Rebellion as police raided the Stonewall Inn. The police faced a fightback from the community as it threw rocks, bottles, bricks, burnt cars, and protested on the streets in large numbers. As an aftermath of the rebellion, New York police commissioner James P. O’Neill issued an apology at a safety brief during Pride month.

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