Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

Peter Tatchell accuses police of homophobic witch hunt against gay men

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. PinkPolitico 15 Jan 2013, 11:17am

    This is extremely disturbing and such incidents can only seriously undermine the good work carried out by police in recent years to improve relations with the LGBT community and earn our trust. These men should not have been approached full stop, but to do so in the context of ‘serious crimes’ only makes the situation even more offensive. Any police force targeting gay men in this way need to immediately stop, issue an apology to the men involved and destroy any samples collected.

    And as the police letter to at least one of the men targeted makes clear, the police knew exactly the nature of the “crime” committed (gross indecency) so there can be no question of a mistake being made or the men being accidentally included in this sweep.

    The modern day gay rights movement was born out of police persecution and they more than most must be held to the highest standards when it comes to LGBT issues.

  2. Cardinal Capone 15 Jan 2013, 11:31am

    The situation clearly needs to be checked by an independent body. Does Manchester still have a police authority or has it been replaced by a one man “commissioner” (I.e. potential waste of space). Maybe these are the people that should be checking what’s going on.

    Generally though this seems like a step to one day having the entire population DNA on a database. But such databases can only ever be as good as the information put in – rubbish in, rubbish out, apart from the civil rights implications.

  3. PinkPolitico 15 Jan 2013, 11:53am

    GMP trying to claim that a conviction for theft is linked to Mr Close being targeted completely contradicts the actual letter he was sent by police which clearly states that it was his conviction for “gross indecency” that led to him being included in the sweep:

    The letter to Mr Close from Greater Manchester Police states:

    ‘Through investigation of police records you have been identified as a person who has a previous conviction, which falls into one of the above categories (Gross Indecency 1983); and from whom we now wish to obtain a DNA sample….”

    Thus the response of GMP only adds to the disturbing nature of this story.

    The matter needs to be thoroughly investigated and police made to account for their unacceptable behavour regarding this matter.

  4. That There Other David 15 Jan 2013, 12:05pm

    I thought convictions of this type had been quashed…or was that only those pre-1967?

    1. Philip Breen 16 Jan 2013, 12:53am

      -Only those before 1967-which made the 2012 gesture of ‘disregarding’ old gay convictions to be much smaller than it looked. Most have to be retired to benefit. The excuse given for not including others was that sexual activity in a public lavatory is illegal. We all know that, but what about all those convicted for soliciting or importuning where no sex was taking place? They were in the wrong place at the wrong time and arrested in homophobic stings.

  5. PinkPolitico 15 Jan 2013, 12:17pm

    This matter is now being discussed on the Greater Manchester Police Facebook page and I would advise people to outline their concerns there also:

    http://www.facebook.com/GtrManchesterPolice

  6. Oh thats why the UK Government does not want to implement same sex marriage hey!

    Well it seems like the Conservative UK Government wants to go way back to pre-1967 with witch hunts, discrimination and hate crimes towards and inflicted apon on gay men!

    I was going to visit the UK in April of this year, I have just cancelled it and now I am going to Canada now!

    1. That There Other David 15 Jan 2013, 12:32pm

      The UK Government has applied a policy against sex offenders, not gay people. However, what they’ve forgotten is that some people on the sex offenders register are only there because of actions that are now perfectly legal, such as having gay sex whilst serving in the Armed Forces.

      GMP meanwhile have gone in all ham-fisted as per usual, believing that they can be as tough as they like with sex offenders because the public don’t like them anyway. As police forces go they do have a tendency to take the least-intelligent direction of those on offer, but that’s no excuse for not checking the background of the convictions before barging down the door and demanding genetic swabs. What needs to change is that ALL convictions related to sexual acts that are now legal need to be quashed and removed from all government and police databases.

      Rest assured, by the time of your planned holiday this will be sorted, and GMP might take the unusual step of engaging their brains before acting.

  7. Keith Francis Farrell 15 Jan 2013, 12:45pm

    I would supect that the police have another funny card up their sleve, one day they are going to report how sucessful their campain was and request the need to have every ones DNA on their system. these things are alweays done with some skew idea in mind to get more funding for the police. Thank goodness I am not on their system, yet.

    1. They already take newborns dna here in the USA without the need for parents permission. Most people are unaware of this however. Plus any kind of felony will have them taking the persons dna too.

  8. Its not just Greater Manchester police who are doing this.

    A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was sat in his car at a gay cruising spot when a couple of police cars arrived.

    The officers then went into the nearby wooded area with what looked like “tin cans”. They then put on protective gloves and then proceeded to collect used condoms that had been discarded in the bushes- and put them individually into the cans.

    After collecting several “samples” they then put them into recepticles in the back of the police car -labelled them with a felt tip pen-before driving away.

    1. Littering is a serious offence.

    2. Bloody hell! That’s really underhanded, and Machiavellian, that is. Thanks for reporting.

      It’s a fact that policemen enjoy, personally, wielding power over others. And they’ll wield their superiority over us unless we kick up stink in public and embarrass them sufficiently.

  9. “That is simply not the case and this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with an individual’s sexuality.”

    Maybe they aren’t targeting “the homosexual community” as a whole but it has definitely something to do with Stephen Close’s sexuality. He was convicted of “gross indecency” for one reason and one reason only and that’s because he is gay, period. Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and the GMP would do well to recognise that fact and stop bothering Stephen Close and others with similar cases.

  10. Been there... 15 Jan 2013, 1:24pm

    Having had similar action taken by the police (though not in Manchester), we are very aware that there is a “secret agenda” for the gathering of DNA, not only of gays, but schoolchildren and anyone involved – by some constabularies – in things like road accidents. The “if you got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” argument is trotted out only by those who – so far- have not had the treatment. I am aware my DNA is on record despite no case being found or charged, and I doubt very much that it will ever be removed, despite government assurances. Quis custodiet custodiens continues…

    1. If you were not charged or convicted they should remove your DNA from the database, these things do take time, but it should be happening.
      I would do a request of information from your force to check if it has been removed yet – they have to provide details under Data Protection.

      1. The DNA evidence is taken when you are arrested and remains on the record even if you are never charged or convicted.

      2. You’re so nieve. The law does not apply to the police, they apply the law.

  11. this GMP DNA thing is out of control I beleive, but I don’t know the full details.

    In THEIR defence, subject to those full details, I would say that the defendant DID commint a crime. Whether his crime has been cleared due to new laws, he was at the time willing to defy the law, and that means he is potentially liable to commit another crime again of this type.

    AGAINST their defence, this is overkill. There are no reasons to suspect he will commit another crime related to this non-current-crime.

    If a str8 guy has sex with his 14 yr old gf, and gets convicted for it, but 1 yr later the age of consent (a current issue in the press) gets lowered to 14, he was still guilty of breaking the law at the time of the offence. His sentence should be quashed, and probably his listing on the sex offenders register. However, this person was willing to break the law at the date of his crime, therefore he committed a crimal act no matter how many new laws are passed since.

  12. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 15 Jan 2013, 2:06pm

    The DADT policy did get repealed back in September 2011

    However gay sex is still illegal in the US Armed Forces under the USMJ.

    “Article 125″ (Sodomy) is still illegal in the US Armed Forces!

    Actual Text:

    “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient
    to complete the offense.

    (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall by punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    The Repeal of the DADT policy did not repeal Article 125.

    1. That There Other David 15 Jan 2013, 2:16pm

      Mr Close was in the Royal Fusiliers, a regiment of the British Army. US law has never been applicable to this case.

  13. I lived in Manchester in the days when the Tories brought in Section 28 and the Manchester Chief of Police was a known homophobe (despite having a lesbian daughter). At the same time Manchester was firm Labour territory and the City Council was wonderfully accepting of diversity. So I am quite distraught to learn that the police of Manchester have disgraced themselves recently with the behaviour described.

    With all the homophobia being expressed at the moment as a result of the suggestion that we should be allowed to marry each other, we shouldn’t be surprised if homophobic behaviour on the part of authorities like the police increases.

    Well done, Peter, for taking on this issue. It’s an important one. We have to trumpet this one and shame those power-mongers up in Manchester into not only dropping this behaviour but putting aside ALL of their homophobia.

    Underneath it all, this behaviour very strongly suggests the Manchester police force has strongly homophobic elements to it

  14. abused by police 15 Jan 2013, 4:36pm

    When will the gay population learn UK police are utterly untrustworthy on all gay issues.

    Police under guise of ‘Equality & Diversity’ have infiltrated & influenced so many LGBT organisations in recent years. Often by so-called gay? police officers who in my experience behave little better than ‘KAPOS’.

    As a gay man repeatedly abused & victimised by police, the only police officer I would trust is a dead one…a corpse cannot commit perjury, lie, threaten & intimidate…as is the habit of police officers I have experienced!

    I feel very strongly about this having been assaulted, my home attacked, my business destroyed, my vehicles smashed up, petrol through the front door…because as a gay man I made a complaint against police.

    Don’t trust any police officer, Don’t trust the IPCC…and trust gay police officers very least of all

    1. I totally agree, and prison officers are as bad, if not worse. A friend died because of this kind of abuse of power.

    2. Sweet & Tender Hooligan 16 Jan 2013, 9:33am

      I, too, have always thought that gay Police Officers were comparable to Jews in concentration camps assisting in the death of their fellow Jews. I, too, have experienced beatings, perjury, threats, intimidation – oh, I could go on for a long, long time adding to this list of abusive behaviour and violence I have suffered from our alleged upholders of the law.

      You have said it all. NEVER TRUST THE POLICE. THE POLICE ARE NO FRIENDS OF LGBT PEOPLE. ‘abused by police’, your posting is one of the most pertinent I have read here and your comments are those with which I identify having experienced these things myself and I agree with everything you say

      Anyone reading this, for your own sake and safety take heed.
      The police are our enemies. The overwhelming majority are violent, hateful and homophobic bullies.

  15. Sister Mary Clarence 15 Jan 2013, 6:39pm

    Can someone explain to me exactly what the police are doing telling us (through the medium of PinkNews about this guy’s conviction for theft 12 years ago.

    I am assuming a theft conviction would not incur a prison sentence over two and a half years and therefore it would be spent, and on that basis the police should not be broadcasting it to all and sundry surely.

  16. Just goes to show police can never be trusted.

  17. He is right, most police are anti-gay Christians and Catholics who want to kill gays.

    1. That is a lie. While I agree the police are useless (mainly with out of control youths because they cant do anything) I have always found most police to be very nice. Its hardly a police state.

  18. Stephen Mead 16 Jan 2013, 12:35am

    Fugitives
    It’s always a matter of what’s got to go: a name, family, the life of appliances
    just when their warranty’s up,
    customary hardships, comforts
    secure as the house built by Jack
    on four acres of Love Canal.
    There’s no guarantee here
    except for plot twists, many trains
    greasing adrenalin in tunnels of glare,
    petrol pungent, urinal-walled-—-
    Hardly, glamorous, only, possibly,
    the way religion is, any dedicated
    frenzy combining chance, will, know-
    how’s stupendous calm
    depending solely on clues far flung
    as refuge——junks
    wrestling tides in eastern
    winds, our eyes
    those lanterns, sunset juxtaposed
    and wide open for skin, skin
    double-shadowed by neon blinking,
    sirens, sheets trusting grace then,
    then without an alibi
    for the other warm body lying
    in danger of arrest simply
    by sleeping
    a loved stranger
    beside you.

  19. Philip Breen 16 Jan 2013, 12:43am

    That makes depressing and worrying reading. However, it highlights a bigger problem with the disclosure of criminal convictions in the new DBS which replaces the CRB. Theresa May & Lynne Featherstone addressed a fraction of the problem when they created the system for ‘disregarding’ pre-1967 convictions but all of the others are all still disclosed. Repealed gay convictions for soliciting & gross indecency are still disclosed. Soliciting was the updated version of loitering & it was not necessary to be having sex to be prosecuted. Thousands of people because of all of this can’t apply for jobs or volunteering that require enhanced disclosures. Often homophobic entrapment contextualised these victimless convictions. These cases do not reflect danger to children or vulnerable adults but homophobia from a different time. We need to campaign for an end to these old gay disclosures otherwise these kinds of horrifying events described will continue & in some places could even escalate.

  20. “…The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of NINE to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great JOY.

    “While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.” – Sir Jimmy Saville OBE

    …Oh sorry , Peter Tatchell wrote that .Wonder if he told the Police the names of the adults involved having sex with nine year olds ? Does anyone listen to this weirdo ? …oh sorry better not mention this …it would be ‘homophobic’ !!

    1. Philip Breen 16 Jan 2013, 6:57am

      Nobody who has found themselves in the situation described by Tatchell would feel anything but shock and insecurity. This story is essentially about gay men who live good lives but who, having been previously arrested for old consenting gay crimes, were revisited years later by the police. Even in the 1990s, to justify homophobic stings to boost convictions for victimless crimes, police would say they were there to investigate other crimes or say there had been a physical assault in that location or a spate of car theft, any and all of such needing tracking down. These persecutions were shocking and remain a cause of fear and anxiety because these old and senseless convictions & events are still disclosed on enhanced criminal records checks. There is no sense in which this story condones underage sex.

    2. “Wonder if he told the Police the names of the adults involved having sex with nine year olds… ”

      I think you misread what Tatchell said, as I don’t think he suggested anywhere that he knew the names of the adults who had sex with his friends when they were children. Even if he did, I’m not sure it is really appropriate to report a crime when none of the victims (who are presumably now adults) want any action to be taken.

    3. Abused by police 17 Jan 2013, 12:17pm

      As someone who was in a peadophile ring as a child from the age of 6-10ish and had sex with a (named) teacher & his clergy & POLICE friends.

      That sex I experienced as a child paled into insignificance to the abuse, violation, victimisation & homophobic hate crimes I have experienced from Devon & Cornwall police officers as an adult gay man.

      The fact that police (just like in the Jimmy Savile case) have buried for years & covered up repeatedly reported incidents from childhood through to today (There is a 6 hr victim witness statement police have buried) ..is just what the corrupt, dishonest homophobic police DO..at least it is what Devon & Cornwall police do!!

      The new PCC Mr Hogg is complicit in covering up too…since it has been reported to him…but ignored!

      POLICE…they are the criminals we are warned about!

    4. Peter Tatchell has never advocated adults having sex with children. He does not support this. He says adults should NOT have sex with children. He has never advocated the abolition of ages of consent. He has said that if young people of similar ages have sex below the age of 16 they should not be prosecuted, providing they both consent and there is no coercion, manipulation or exploitation.
      Read here: http://petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/age_of_consent/index.htm

  21. I believe men should be arrested for “gay cruising” in parks etc.

    Its disgusting, have some self respect.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all