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Virgin Active falsely claimed undercover police would patrol men’s changing room

Reiss Smith August 15, 2019
A close-up of grey metal lockers with red key numbers

Virgin Active Barbican told members that undercover police would be stationed in the men's changing room. (Envato)

A Virgin Active gym in Barbican, London falsely told customers that undercover police officers would be present in the men’s changing rooms following reports of “inappropriate behaviour.”

Members of the Virgin Active branch received an email in early August telling them that there had “been reports of incidents linked to individuals’ inappropriate behaviour, specific to the male locker room facilities.”

It stated that the gym was working with the City of London Police “to address and investigate any criminal behaviour.”

“Going forward please be advised that undercover police officers will be present in the male locker room and they will take any appropriate action should the need arise,” the email continued.

Police say no undercover officers will be put in gym

The City of London Police has however confirmed that no such arrangements were made, according to Buzzfeed News.

“We have not put undercover officers into the changing rooms of this gym, or any other gym in the City,” a spokesperson told Buzzfeed.

The email sent to Virgin Active Barbican customers.

“We became aware of this email sent out to members by Virgin and have asked them to issue a correction, which I believe they are going to do imminently.”

One gay member of the gym suggested that the move was designed to clamp down on locker room cruising.

The police are now going undercover to stop people cruising, it’s like the 1950s all over again.

“Despite escalating knife crime, the police are now going undercover to stop people cruising, it’s like 1950s honeytraps in men’s toilets all over again when they targeted gays in a homophobic clamp down,” Dr Max Pemberton told Buzzfeed, shortly before learning that the undercover police claims were not true.

A spokesperson for Virgin Active told Buzzfeed: “There has been a miscommunication between Virgin Active and the City Of London Police which has now been clarified.

“We will carry on working closely with the City of London Police to ensure our members continue to be in a safe environment.”

PinkNews has contacted Virgin Active for further comment.

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