Police officer posts homophobic slurs online, boss announces he’s sacked via Twitter
A police officer in Manchester who had posted hateful anti-gay messages online got a very public dismissal – when his boss tweeted that he was getting sacked.
Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, made the public announcement on the social network this morning.
He wrote: “This afternoon I have dismissed without notice a Special Constable from Greater Manchester Police for making a homophobic comment on a disgusting homophobic post on Facebook.
“Totally unacceptable behaviour & no place in policing for this.”
Mr Hopkins added: “They had written a homophobic comment on what was a disgusting post and picture on Facebook, which was clearly homophobic, and they had commented on it in a homophobic way.”
The force confirmed: “The special constable breached the standards of professional behaviour expected from all employees of Greater Manchester Police.
“He made homophobic comments which would not only offend the public we serve, but also the staff and officers within our force.
“His actions were completely unacceptable and we will not tolerate this behaviour.
“A full investigation was carried out and following a special case hearing, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police deemed his behaviour to be gross misconduct and he was dismissed.”
Jessica White, Community Safety Coordinator from LGBT Foundation, said: “Manchester’s diversity and inclusivity is what makes this such a great city to live in, and we work closely with Greater Manchester Police to ensure that this remains this way.
“We welcome the Chief Constable’s swift and positive action in this case and for sending out a clear message that discrimination against LGBT and other communities is completely unacceptable.”
The force is one of the most progressive in the country on LGBT issues – clamping down on homophobic hate incidents, and launching a pioneering scheme to tackle LGBT domestic violence.
But speaking in 2014, the then-chief constable of Greater Manchester police warned that broad laws banning hate speech risk a drift towards an Orwellian “thought police”.
The since-retired police chief Sir Peter Fahy said: “There is a danger of us being turned into a thought police.
“When does anti-Israeli protest become anti-Semitic? How far is it OK to challenge homosexuality, women’s rights? How far is it OK to advocate violent action abroad?”
“These are difficult issues for Muslims and the Catholic church… Extremism is not just about Muslims, there are a lot of right-wing extremists.
“If that speaker, says all homosexuals are sinful, are mentally defective and need reprogramming and are threat to society, is that preaching hatred?”
He added that the best solution was for individual institutions to create policies banning hate speech, saying: “The police service does not want to be in school or on university campuses controlling thought.
“The best way to avoid this is for such institutions to have procedures to know the messages which are being promoted and for student bodies to have policies on whether preaching hatred towards homosexuality, allowing segregated meetings or advocating violent action overseas is acceptable or not.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland recently came under fire for holding a recruitment drive to find gay police officers.
The force held events billed as “information evenings for the LGBTQ+ community”.
Officials explained: “At these events you’ll be able to find out more information on the recruitment process and hear about the experiences of serving LGBT+ Police officers in the Police Service.
“Both events will feature a panel of serving officers and Human resources staff there to answer your questions relating to the recruitment process and about the exciting career possibilities in the Police Service.”
LGBT campaigners have welcomed the outreach, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland – and comes after historically poor relations between police and LGBT people.
However, the move was been criticised by anti-LGBT politicians.
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TUV (Traditional Unionist Voice) leader Jim Allister, a hardline politician who opposed the decriminalisation of sexuality, was invited on the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster to attack the decision.
He said: “I think it’s totally unwarranted pandering to a group already protected with full equality laws in the law.
“It’s already unlawful to discriminate in employment on grounds of sexual orientation, so why does the PSNI think it necessary to go beyond that for this section of society?
“It should be the merit principle that governs recruitment and that alone and now we are going to bend the merit principle… is that what we’re talking about? It seems to be a politically correct thing to do.”