Renowned Norfolk actor, author and TV presenter Stephen Fry and I’m a Celebrity’s Brian Paddick have pledged their support to Norfolk Gay Police Association which was officially launched today (Wednesday 18 May).
Affiliated to the national Gay Police Association, the Norfolk branch has been set up to promote equal opportunities and offer advice and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, Trans and Intersex police officers and police staff.
Norfolk Gay Police Association was also created to improve relations between the police service and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, Trans and Intersex communities in the county.
Dean Harrison, Chair, Norfolk Gay Police Association, said:
“Police officers and police staff in Norfolk are now part of the country’s most influential yet supportive network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Norfolk Gay Police Association is an in-facing staff support association that promotes equal opportunities and offers advice and support to its members.
“The challenge ahead is exciting but cannot be underestimated – encouraging people to come forward for support, regardless of whether they’re ‘out’ or not, improving relations between the police service and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community, and increasing membership.
Dean continued: “Being a branch of a national organisation gives members greater access to advice and support. Anyone can be a member of Norfolk Gay Police Association and, in time, I hope we will be able to reach out to colleagues in the wider police and judicial family.”
Endorsing the creation of Norfolk Gay Police Association, renowned Norfolk actor, author and TV presenter Stephen Fry, said:
“As a proud son of Norfolk, a proud gay son of Norfolk too, I could not be more pleased to welcome the springing into life of Norfolk GPA. The understanding and sensitivity of the Norfolk Constabulary in all matters of equality and diversity is strongly to be welcomed.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the county will work with the police to make sure that everyone knows that the police have respect and understanding for the LGBT community and no tolerance whatever for bullying, harassment, abuse, violence or exhibitions of hatred and bigotry.”
Gay former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at The Metropolitan Police and I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here contestant, Brian Paddick, said:
“Still holding the record as the UK’s most senior openly gay police officer, in addition to my 30 years plus experience in the police service, has enabled me to work with LGBT support networks in other organisations as well as the police.
“A support group such as the GPA can make much more of a positive difference than any individual can acting alone. Relations between the police and the LGBT community has not always been a happy one and knowing there is a GPA in Norfolk will help inspire confidence in the substantial LGBT community in Norfolk outside of the police, both in related services and in the wider community.”
Councillor Jeremy N. Hooke, Co-Chair of the Norfolk LGBT History Month steering group said: “Although attitudes towards the LGBT community have improved considerably there is still much work to do. I am therefore delighted to support the launch of the Norfolk Gay Police Association. It is comforting to know that all Norfolk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Police Officers and Staff will have a support network.
“The Norfolk – GPA will go a long way to improving relations between the Police and the wider LGBT community, and will hopefully encourage more victims and witnesses in reporting crime within Norfolk.”
Bernard Reed, Gender Identity Research & Education (GIRES), said: “The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) welcome the formation of the Norfolk Gay Police Association. GIRES has for many years enjoyed a good relationship with the national Gay Police Association and is pleased to see that it too supports this Norfolk affiliate.
“Throughout the UK, the police service has been making exemplary efforts to engage with and support the Trans community. It is heartening to see that one of the aims of the Norfolk Gay Police Association is to improve further the relations between the police service and the Trans community”
Norfolk Gay Police Association is also supported by Norfolk Constabulary. Deputy Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who holds the Diversity portfolio within the service, said: “Norfolk Constabulary welcomes the creation of Norfolk Gay Police Association. I am delighted the local branch of the national Gay Police Association will promote equal opportunities, advice and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex police officers and police staff in Norfolk.
“The Constabulary also supports the association’s aim to improve relations between the police service and the LGBT community across the county. I am also confident Norfolk Gay Police Association will help the police service better understand our communities and forge stronger links between the public and the Constabulary.”