The world’s largest ever police contingent to take part in a gay pride parade will be seen this Saturday during Manchester Pride.
Up to 300 officers and staff from forces across the country will lead the parade as Pride celebrates its 18th birthday.
Senior police officers will also participate, including Cheshire Police’s chief constable and incoming Greater Manchester Police (GMP) chief Peter Fahy.
The parade entry is organised by Police with Pride, which consists of LGBT representatives from forces across the North West who organise and promote the event not only in the North West, but nationally.
Police officers and staff from 16 forces across the UK will attend.
Sgt Julie Barnes-Frank, coordinator of GMP’s Lesbian and Gay Staff Affiliation (LAGSA), said: “I am totally overwhelmed with the response we have had this year.
“It is fantastic that so many police officers and staff are taking part and it’s a credit to them.
“Each year our presence gets bigger and bigger and this year it is true to say there’s never been anything like it in the world.
“It shows just how far we have moved on over the past 18 years.
“To have so many people take part in Pride, whether they be gay or straight, is something I never dreamed I would see and it makes me so proud to be a police officer.
“This sends out a strong and clear message that I hope gives confidence to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals living in Manchester, the North West and across the country that there are people in the police who are prepared to stand up and say they are gay.”
Following on from the success of last year, a police band comprising members of the GMP, Cheshire and Merseyside bands will play for the crowds.
This year, GMP is one of the main sponsors of Manchester Pride and has worked closely with the organisers to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.
The force will also give out information about how to report hate crime.
“Hate crime is not something that LGB&T individuals should just have to put up with,” added Sgt Barnes-Frank.
“GMP is committed to erasing hate crime from our communities. Anyone who has been targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity should report it to police. We will take you seriously.”