Gay policemen in Scotland have been designated an officer to protect them from homophobia and to promote equality in the force.

Inspector David Lyle has been made the Scottish coordinator of the Gay Police Association, the first such position in the UK.

His role will be to settle disputes between gay and straight officers and to ensure gay and lesbian recruits feel comfortable at work.

Mr Lyle, 53, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “We want to be able to show that being gay and being a police officer are just part and parcel of everyday life.

“Often the questions are about how to deal with officers making a comment they think is funny in front of a gay member of the force.

“Other cases are more serious. There was one recently where two support staff refused to work with a third support worker because their ‘gayness’ offended their religious beliefs.”

The Home Office is now reported to be pushing for GPA co-ordinators for England and Wales.