Festivalgoers will be able to stop by a Wiltshire Police sponsored 'zone' at this year's planned Swindon & Wiltshire PRIDE festival.
Returning for its 12th year on Saturday 7 August, the parade and community event has been held every year in Swindon Old Town and Town Gardens, apart from last summer when it had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. The event brings communities together to celebrate LGBTQ+ rights, diversity and inclusion.
The exact zone sponsored will not be revealed until later in the year, but Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said he knew the community would enjoy it.
"The Force is delighted to be supporting this incredible community event and I am looking forward to seeing our sponsored zone in situ," he said.
"Of course, we do have to balance this announcement with the reality that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, so while I am pleased it is still planning to go ahead, we will have to wait until closer to the event to know if it can go ahead in the same format as we have enjoyed in the past.
"Two years ago we saw record numbers in attendance and the Force has always been well represented. We hope that by sponsoring this zone, it will encourage more people to take part and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community."
Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, also welcomed the announcement.
"While I won’t be the county’s PCC when this year’s event takes place, I will still be dusting off my rainbow shirt and showing my support for the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.
“Acceptance and awareness are key to communities living side-by-side without fear of violence, prejudice or hatred. It’s a sad fact that while Wiltshire is a very safe county to live in, it is not immune to this type of hate crime and not something that just happens elsewhere.
"As individuals we should be respectful and embracing of each other's differences and the diversity this brings to our lives. As a society, we have come so far in terms of acceptance, education and awareness.
"Everyone should be free to be who they want to be, live how they want without fear, hatred and prejudice – no matter their gender or sexual orientation."