Cambridgeshire police chief constable apologises to LGBTQ+ community for way in which historical homophobic laws were enforced

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Nick Dean is the 6th chief constable to offer apology

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police has apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for ‘the unacceptable way in which historical homophobic laws were enforced and the institutional homophobia that existed in the police.’

Nick Dean is the sixth UK police chief to apologise to the LGBT+ community, following similar apologies by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire forces.

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Mr Dean wrote a letter to the Peter Tatchell Foundation, an organisation that seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally, to apologise.

Chief Constable Nick DeanChief Constable Nick Dean
Chief Constable Nick Dean

In the letter, he said: “I want to take this opportunity, during National Hate Crime Week, to apologise to the LGBTQ+ community and their families and friends for how Cambridgeshire Constabulary enforced these laws, the lack of dignity and respect given to members of the community and the lack of confidence and trust that this undoubtedly created in their police force, preventing them from being afforded the same protection and safety which we offered to others.

“I am pleased to say that the force I describe above no longer exists. Cambridgeshire Constabulary has worked hard over many years to educate and train our staff, drive out prejudice and remove those who don’t live up to our values. I recognise that a lack of prejudicial views is not enough- we must ensure that our officers understand the different needs of all our communities, actively engage with them and actively support a more diverse workforce. For this reason, I’m proud of our LGBTQ+ staff association and the work they do to support officers in the workplace, and their engagement with the LGBTQ+ community not just during Pride Month but throughout the year. But the work of building trust is not down to one specific group of officers; it is the work of every member of the constabulary.

“Our workforce is more diverse than at any time in its history, and in our ongoing work against hate crime we recognise that it is the responsibility of this generation of police officers to rebuild the trust that was eroded by those of the past.”

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Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, welcomed the apology, and called on other chief constables to come forward and apologise.

He said: “Our sincere appreciation to Nick Dean for his fulsome apology to the LGBT+ community on behalf of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. We are very grateful. This will go a long way towards securing an even better relationship between Cambridgeshire police and the LGBT+ community - further building trust and confidence. It is a commendable continuation of the great work that the police have been doing in recent years.

“It is a forthright, generous apology that comes across as passionate and genuine. Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Nick Dean didn’t hesitate. That marks him out as a commendable police chief. We thank him. This apology does the Cambridgeshire police proud and will win much appreciation and praise from the LGBT+ community.

“Having drawn a line under past police homophobia, I hope this will boost LGBT+ confidence in the police and encourage more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic violence and sexual assault.”