West Midlands Police have declined to say whether they will apologise for what human rights organisation the Peter Tatchell Foundation calls their “past witch-hunting of the LGBTQ+ community”. The request was made on 14 April, in a letter to the Chief Constable, Craig Guildford, from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. A follow-up request on 11 May also elicited no commitment.
The force has further failed to respond to an invitation to attend a meeting at the House of Lords on 7 June to discuss the case for an apology with MPs and Lords, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC.
In contrast, two other major police services are engaging positively and constructively with the Apologise Now campaign launched by the Peter Tatchell Foundation. While talks are ongoing, the human rights organisation won’t be releasing the names of these forces but are appreciative and hopeful about these early discussions.
“The lack of engagement by West Midland’s police is extremely disappointing and sends a very negative signal to the LGBTQ+ community. We hope they will reconsider and make an apology before Birmingham Pride on 27 May,” said Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
”The West Midlands force was one of the most homophobic in Britain and went out of its way to target consenting, victimless behaviour that harmed no one. Over the decades, it wrecked the lives of thousands of LGBTQ+ people.
“The former Chief Constable apologised in 2020 to the black community for the history of racism by its officers. This apology was applauded. It strengthens the case for a similar apology to the LGBTQ+ community.
“I hope that a formal apology will be made to the LGBTQ+ community, ahead of the upcoming Birmingham Pride on 27 May. It would help further improve LGBTQ+ trust and confidence in the police, which is what we all want,” added Mr Tatchell.