New Met police commissioner is “hypocritical” on hate crimes claims Tatchell
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has questioned the appointment of Sir Paul Stephenson as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Sir Paul was announced yesterday as the choice of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
He was previously Deputy Commissioner of the Met and was acting Commissioner since December, when his predecessor, Sir Ian Blair, was effectively forced out by Mr Johnson.
Mr Tatchell said that last November Sir Paul declined to cancel a London concert by a notoriously homophobic Jamaican musician.
Bounty Killer, born Rodney Price, had two concerts cancelled in Bradford and Birmingham in March 2008 following protests by the gay human rights group OutRage!
The Met had previously stated that artists would not be allowed to perform unless they sign the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), which prohibits the performance of any music that encourages or glorifies any form of violence.
Price, who was brought up in Kingston, Jamaica, became a household name in Jamaica in the early 90s, and later became known in the USA and Europe after collaborating with the Fugees, Wyclef Jean and No Doubt.
In 2003, he cancelled two of his concerts in the UK, fearing he would be arrested for the homophobic content of his songs.
Price’s lyrics include the lines “You know we need no promo to rub out dem homo” and “Mi ready fi go wipe out this fag”, which encourage the murder of homosexuals.
“The Commissioner is hypocritical on hate crimes,” said Mr Tatchell.
“He permits homophobic singers to perform in London, but not racist ones. Racist artists are banned on the grounds that they are a threat to public order and good community relations. This same principle should be applied in the case of homophobic singers. It isn’t.
“Sir Paul is part of the problem. He gave Bounty Killer the green light to perform, even though the singer was on record as inciting the murder of lesbian and gay people.”
Mr Tatchell wants Sir Paul to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy towards homophobic performers.
A spokesman for the Met told PinkNews.co.uk that the decision to allow the concert had been made by not by Sir Paul but by Newham police, with the support of a Deputy Assistant Commissioner.
Mr Tatchell’s letter was concerned with an operational matter and it is normal practice to refer it on to those operationally responsible.
In this case senior borough officers took the decision and it was backed by the DAC.
In Novemer the Met explained their decision to allow the concert to go ahead.
“We are aware of a planned concert by the artist Bounty Killer at Stratford Rex on Sunday November 23rd,” a spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk.
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“Conferences have been held between the police, the venue’s management and the artist’s manager in order to consider the most productive way to handle the matter.
“A previous concert at the venue with the artist passed of without incident. The club have given us full access and we will deal robustly with any offences that arise.”
It is understood that Bounty Killer gave an undertaking not to perform any of his homophobic songs.
Sir Paul was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for services to policing in May 2000 and he received a knighthood in the Queens Birthday Honours List last year.
He was previously Assistant Chief Constable, Merseyside Police and Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary.
He has held operational commands in Lancashire and Northern Ireland with the Royal Ulster Constabulary.