Uniformed police officers will not be allowed to march in this year’s Belfast Pride parade, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has announced.
Marking a significant change in policy, the PSNI said officers and staff may participate in the pro-LGBT event in a “personal capacity” but must not “identify as members of the Police Service”.
According to the organisers’ website, the theme for Belfast Pride 2023 is ‘Stand By Your Trans’ and one of the festival’s promotional hashtags is #StandByYourTransChildren.
Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said the leadership team had carefully considered the request made by the service’s own LGBT group to parade in uniform.
But in reaching its decision, he explained, this request had to be set alongside “the stated purposes” of the event, and the PSNI’s “statutory obligations to act with fairness, integrity and impartiality”.
The PSNI stated that Police Service Policy and its Code of Ethics “prohibit officers from wearing their uniform or being identifiable as police when engaging in ‘cause issues’”.
Mid and East Antrim Councillor Timothy Gaston welcomed the volte-face, saying the PSNI had “no business” supporting a “political campaign”.
statutory obligations to act with fairness, integrity and impartiality
In Scotland, however, Glasgow’s NSPCC Childline announced that it would have a “team of our staff and volunteers marching along with the crowd” at the city’s Pride festival.
Childline’s online resources claim that ‘gender identity’ is different to biological sex and can be based on “how you feel about your gender and how you identify yourself”.
The children’s charity also encourages gender-confused children to “express” their “gender identity”, and gives advice on using “a different pronoun” and changing their name “to better reflect their gender”.
Revd Dr Matthew Roberts of Trinity Church York, author of ‘Pride: Identity and the Worship of Self’, recently told The Christian Institute that Pride is fast becoming the UK’s new established religion: