Police to participate out of uniform in London Pride parade
London police will participate out of uniform and without police vehicles in July’s London Pride parade in light of concerns raised by Pride members earlier this year.
Pride London Festival issued a news release Friday to announce the change. Festival organizer Andrew Rosser told 980 CFPL during several conversations and a community input session, members expressed concerns with the large presence of uniformed officers who have participated in the past.
“It’s a deterrent, we’re finding that people aren’t coming to Pride because of that, and we want to make sure that Pride is inclusive to all,” he explained.
“We really think this is a much needed step to engage some of those populations under the LGTB+ umbrella that haven’t been coming to Pride and haven’t been feeling supported.”
Although London Police attended the community input session, and were part of Pride London Festival’s conversations, police chief John Pare admitted he’s a bit disappointed.
“We’ve had a good relationship with Pride London and the LGBTQ+ community, and obviously with any relationship you’re continually working to develop it and move forward.”
Pare said police have walked in the Pride Parade for eight years now, and that they’d respect the request to no longer wear uniforms.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after Toronto police announced they will be withdrawing their application to march in June’s Pride parade in light of concerns raised by Pride Toronto and other community groups.
“We want to thank London Police Service for their continued support of Pride London Festival, and Chief Pare’s commitment to working on improving relationships with London’s LGBT2Q+ communities, through consultations with communities, along with training and education for our officers and staff,” added Rosser.
The 24th annual London Pride parade will take place on Sunday, July 29.
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