Wiltshire Police proudly raised a rainbow flag across its two main sites in recognition and celebration of LGBT+ people and culture today (1/2).
The simple flag ceremony at Force headquarters in Devizes marks the start of national LGBT+ History Month, held annually in February. The flag will also be flying at Gablecross, Swindon.
More so than ever before, we should celebrate our differences within the very diverse communities and support each other - not use them to incite hatred. Angus Macpherson, Swindon and Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
Awareness of the issues faced by the LGBT+ community, as well as promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion for all, provides the running theme alongside this year's theme: mind, body and spirit - and how everyone can help to prevent discrimination due to gender or sexual orientation.
Swindon and Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has been a prominent support of the LGBT+ community for many years.
He said: "Raising this flag is just one way Wiltshire Police can show its support for the LGBT+ community within the county. More so than ever before, we should celebrate our differences within the very diverse communities and support each other - not use them to incite hatred.
"Only by raising awareness, and our force reaching out to and reflecting the community it serves, can we truly affect change and acceptance in our society. That is why I am delighted to be able to raise this flag in 2021.
"Everyone deserves the right to live free from hatred, prejudice and fear of violence - no matter their gender or sexual orientation."
Supporting LGBT+ History Month and flying the rainbow flag is just one way Wiltshire Police supports the LGBT+ community by promoting equality in the county, rainbow epaulettes are available for staff to wear, the Force is represented at local PRIDE marches and it works closely with partner agency Stonewall.
As an employer, Wiltshire Police is inclusive: actively supporting its officers and staff to be who they want to be, and actively promoting a zero tolerance approach to hate crime.
Wiltshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, the Force lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, expressed the importance of celebrating the county's LGBT+ community.
"I am proud to be raising this flag and the Force is proud to be flying this symbol of acceptance and to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community in the county ," he said.
“Diversity in our community and in our workforce has always been important to the Force and has been a major focus for us over the last few years. We should be celebrating our differences positively and challenging prejudice where it exists.
"As an organisation we aspire to be representative of the communities that we serve and we welcome applications from all parts of our diverse communities to reach that goal.
“Issues like homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are very real and the Force has worked hard to build relationships, and trust, within the LGBT+ community by encouraging the reporting of all types of hate crime and our zero-tolerance approach to any reports of this nature.”