Failure over ‘gay rights’ may harm police career

Wed, 24 Jun 2009

Scottish police officers could miss out on career advancement if they fail to meet new ‘gay and transsexual rights’ standards.

But critics say the priority for police forces should be tackling crime not “busying themselves with social engineering”.

This week the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland launched its ‘equality and diversity’ strategy for the country’s eight police forces.

Officers will have to undergo diversity training, including how to deal with transsexual offenders in custody.

Staff will undergo a review throughout the year to measure their performance regarding ‘diversity’ issues. The review could affect their promotion prospects.

Chief Constable Ian Latimer, who unveiled the plans at the Scottish Police College, said the strategy had nothing to do with political correctness.

“On the contrary,” he said, “promoting equality and recognising diversity is fundamental to the success of policing.”

But Scottish Tory Justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: “The priority for police is catching criminals and locking them up.

“Everyone understands the need to treat people equally, but what appears to be happening is that the police are busying themselves with social engineering.”

Laura Midgeley of the Campaign Against Political Correctness said: “What seems ominous is that officers could be judged on how well they have taken the diversity agenda on board.

“Their promotion could depend on it. It seems just a shade Orwellian.”

In recent years there have been a number of heavy-handed police investigations against Christians, sparked by complaints to the police of ‘homophobia’.

Last year, moderate Christian preacher Andy Robertson was told by a police officer that it is a crime to publicly express the religious belief that homosexual conduct is sinful.

The officer’s comment was caught on audio tape because Mr Robertson was recording his preaching in case someone made a malicious allegation against him.

In 2007 a five-strong team of police officers investigated complaints that a church’s invitation leaflet to an Easter service was ‘offensive’.

Although the leaflet said nothing about homosexuality, the complainant said it was offensive for evangelical Christians to be advertising themselves in an area where there is a “sizeable gay community”.

In 2005 officers from Lancashire Constabulary interrogated elderly Christian couple, Joe and Helen Roberts, for over an hour because they had criticised their local council’s spending on a ‘gay rights’ project.

After a year, and an expensive legal action, the police admitted they were wrong to respond in the way they had. The police apologised to Mr and Mrs Roberts and changed their procedures to avoid the same mistake in the future.