ESSEX Police celebrated the start of Pride month by raising the Pride flag at Chelmsford Headquarters
Wednesday 1 June marked the first day of Pride Month 2022 and to show our support, the Pride flag was raised at our Chelmsford Headquarters.
As is tradition, Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington QPM and the force’s LGBTQ+ Network chair Police Sergeant Rebecca Shoebridge-Cave were in attendance. It soon became a popular affair as other members of the network and allies in the force joined to pay homage.
Speaking on behalf of the network, PS Shoebridge-Cave said: “This is a month of celebration for our LGBTQ+ Network, and it also gives us a time to reflect.
“It is important that we continue to celebrate Pride, raising awareness and combating prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. This includes encouraging victims of hate crime, which we know is underreported, to come forward and get justice.”
Chief Constable Harrington added: “At Essex Police we genuinely value difference and believe people from all walks of life shape our force and reflect our diverse communities.
“I am proud to honour this month – and the ongoing work of our LGBTQ+ Network – but we must realise that we, as a society, still have a long way to go in supporting and protecting our LGBTQ+ friends and family.
“We know that the police are not always your first port of call if you’re in trouble, and that’s okay, but I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime to come forward and speak to Essex Police.
“If you do want to contact us, you can report crime to us through our website or call 101. Please, always call 999 in an emergency and don’t forget you can use the silent 55 on a mobile if it’s not safe for you to speak.”
Hate Crime Lead, Superintendent Naomi Edwards, who is also a member of the LGBTQ+ Network, has said: “We take all reports of hate crime seriously, whatever form it takes and all reports will be investigated.”
2022 is a pivotal year for LGBTQ+ history in the UK. It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march and to commemorate, Essex Pride will be holding its first march through the streets of Chelmsford to retrace the steps of those that paved the way before them.
Essex Pride will be taking place from 12pm on Saturday 25 June at Central Park in Chelmsford. Members of our LGBTQ+ Network will be joined by our Hate Crime Officers and there will be officers and staff present if you’d like to find out more about joining the Essex Police family.
The Chair of Essex Pride, Garry Ormes, has commented: “We are proud that Essex Police support Pride.
I think it’s extremely important to continue our relationship and assure the community that the police are here to keep people safe, regardless of their background or sexual preferences. We know there’s a huge underreporting in hate crime in the LGBTQ+ community, which is why we encourage people to come forward and speak to a Hate Crime Officer, and at Essex Pride you can do this and speak openly about your experiences – or better yet – learn how to become a Police Officer yourself!”
Throughout Pride month, we’ll be sharing the experiences of our LGBTQ+ officers and celebrating what Pride means to them on our website and social media channels.
As a force, we must continue to serve and protect our diverse community and we can only achieve this by continuing to educate and surround ourselves with those that can offer us their unique experiences to grow. It is clear that Essex Police and Pride have a common goal and that is to spread the positive message regarding acceptance and to value and celebrate difference.