A dedicated police officer and community support officer (PCSO) are taking to the beat around Manchester’s Gay Village, as part of the city’s commitment to neighbourhood policing, prompting accusations of political correctness.
PC Sam Tennant and PCSO Ann Marie Lewis are now based in the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) offices on Princess Street in the city centre.
The pair have responsibility for dealing with issues and incidents affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, reducing and detecting crime, as well as forging links with local people and helping to make the area an even safer place to live, visit, work and socialise.
As part of their remit, a police surgery will continue to be held at the LGF every Thursday night between 6pm and 8pm. Members of the public can use these surgeries to report a crime or talk about policing in their area and any other relevant issues.
PC Tennant and PCSO Lewis will also be promoting the work of the area’s third party reporting centres, which enable members of the public to report incidents without speaking to the police. Outlets such as Manchester Arndale Centre, The Rembrandt Hotel, the Funky Crop Shop, Clonezone and Vanilla have so far signed up to the initiative and have trained staff to take crime reports from members of the public.
But Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have been accused of staging a politically correct stutn, according to the Daily Express.
A GMP spokesperson defended the scheme, telling the paper, “”It is part of our commitment to neighbourhood policing.”
PC Sam Tennant said: “I am delighted to be taking up this post with PCSO Ann Marie Lewis in the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. By working closely with the community, we can address issues that affect the LGBT community most and work with our partner agencies to further improve local areas, helping to reduce crime and raise awareness about crime prevention. Members of the public can feel reassured that we are there as a contact point for them and they can come to us with any issues that they would like to raise”.
Andrew Gilliver from the Lesbian and Gay Foundation added: “The Lesbian and Gay Foundation is delighted that Greater Manchester Police is providing the LGBT community with a local neighbourhood policing team that will be dealing with incidents and issues that affect us all.
“The experience of working with GMP closely on our police advice surgeries over the last year has given us great confidence that we can further our good working relationship to promote better lines of communication between the police and the community in a safe and gay affirmative space.
“We look forward to the continuing support we receive from PC Sam Tennant, who has been so dedicated to improving the service our community receives from the police, and we warmly welcome PCSO Ann Marie Lewis to our home at Princess House.”