Merseyside Police has been voted a top "gay-friendly” police force by a national gay rights charity.


In Britain's Top 100 Employers, collated by Stonewall, they came second out of a police forces' survey that showcases the UK’s top employers for gay, lesbian and bisexual staff.


Since 2009, Merseyside Police has consistently been placed within the top three and out of 378 employers came 24th for overall equality this year. Liverpool John Moores University was ranked 48th. Hampshire Constabulary was rated the best gay-friendly police force and fourth best employer overall, among more than 9,000 employers who were scored.


Chief Inspector Val Powell said: “This is the third consecutive

year that Merseyside Police has been named as one of the

top performing police forces in the UK for lesbian, gay and

bisexual people. Each year the competition at Stonewall

gets tougher.


"It is important to the force that not only police officers and

staff are treated with fairness and equality but that the lesbian,

gay, bisexual and transgender community who come into

contact with the police, whether as a victim, witness or

suspect, are treated the same as anyone else.”


In October 2009, an attack on a trainee policeman, James

Parkes, outraged gay-rights campaigners and shocked the

people of Liverpool. Mr Parkes, 22, suffered multiple skull

fractures, fractures of his eye-socket and cheek bone after leaving Superstar Boudoir in the city centre’s 'gay district' near Victoria Street. The incident made national headline news and a candlelit vigil and protest followed.


The incident took place as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival Homotopia premiered a film about the murder of 18 year-old gay hairdresser Michael Causer in 2008. Mr Causer was asleep at a friend’s house in Huyton when James O’Connor and Michael Binstead, both 19 at the time, kicked and beat him before dumping his body outside.


The pair claimed Mr Causer had been attacked by strangers and he died in hospital a week later from head injuries.


'The Invisible Death of Michael' is the harrowing story of Michael's murder and the under-reporting of a homophobic hate crime. Homotopia director Gary Everett said: “Michael’s death was invisible. We must monitor how the media report these crimes.”


Homophobic crime on Merseyside increased from 123 incidents in 2007/08 to 174 in 2008/09, but Merseyside Police says the force is committed to punishing hate crime offenders.


Chief Inspector Powell added: “We will not tolerate hate crime and we will continue to work hard to ensure everyone who lives, works in or visits Merseyside finds it a safe and enjoyable place to be.”


Accolade for city's 'gay-friendly' cops

By Chris Bradley, Website Editor

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