Chair's Blog (Number 4: 2017)

Saturday, 7 October 2017 16:00

Annual General Meeting

The 2017 AGM of GPA Scotland will take place on Friday 10th November. Details are currently being circulated to all GPA Scotland members and a social event will take place following the AGM. Details of how to register will be contained within the email you receive. I would encourage all members of the association to attend. This year’s AGM will be significant as it is an election year and will consider a number of proposals relating to the re-organisation of the association. 

Policing Scotland With Pride

Our annual GPA Scotland “Policing Scotland With Pride” event took place as part of the Pride Glasgow parade. Seventy members and supporters participated in the parade, our highest ever turnout. We were joined by representatives from the National Trans Police Association, SEMPER Scotland (BME police staff association), Scottish Police Federation, Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, Police Scotland Youth Volunteers and the Glasgow Police Pipe Band. We also had an officer attend all the way from Hertfordshire Constabulary! 

Prior to the parade we had a Pride decorated cupcake sale which raised £100 for LGBT Youth Scotland. Our thanks go to Lucy for all her hard work in providing the cakes and helping us raise money for such a good cause. 

The feedback from everyone who took part in the parade was incredibly positive and, as in previous years, the public reception was greatly appreciated and demonstrated.

It was also a great honour and privilage to attend and particpate in Belfast Pride, together with colleagues from Ireland and England, in order to support PSNI officers and staff participate for the very first time, in uniform, at a Pride parade in Northern Ireland.  

National LGBT Police Conference

200 delegates from every corner of the UK came to Leeds for the annual Police LGBT Conference (16th June). The venue was the magnificent Leeds Civic Hall. Some of the topics covered included police and privacy, child sexual exploitation, anti-bullying initiatives for LGBT young people and a very moving and inspiring input from Gumal Turawa about his personal journey growing up as a young black to becoming the first black police officer to come out as gay in 2003. The event also saw the launch of the Julie Barnes Frank Award. Julie sadly died earlier this year following a battle with cancer. Her campaigning for LGBT rights both within and outwith the police spanned over 2 decades and it was a fitting tribute for an award to be inaugurated in her memory. 

The conference ended with the handover to GPA Scotland who will host the 2018 conference at Tulliallan between 22-24 June. So keep those dates in your diary. Our committee has also set up a planning group for the 2018 conference and I would encourage GPA Scotland members to help us by volunteering for the planning group. Please email if interested. 

LGBT Allies

Another Allies “By Your Side” event was held at Tulliallan on 22nd June. There were inputs from GPA Scotland, Scottish Transgender Alliance, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Barclays LGBT Network. The Police Scotland LGBT Allies network is certainly gaining pace and is an important addition to the support provided for LGBTI police officers and staff. I was also impressed to see Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick wearing “Rainbow Laces” at the event. 

MOD Police join our committee

I am delighted that we now have MOD Police represented on our Executive Committee for the first time. GPA Scotland represents all LGB police officers and staff, regardless of Force or Agency, operating in Scotland. I was invited to attend a senior officers meeting at Faslane Naval Base in order to discuss with MOD police our offer of positive engagement and support. I was encouraged by the positive reception and outcome of that meeting and will ensure that our association works closely with all police organisations. 

Final Thoughts

I will present my annual report at the AGM in what I consider to have been a ‘very good’ year for GPA Scotland. The proposed re-structure and re-launch of the association, targeted for early 2018, which our committee have been working on for some considerable time, and the National LGBT Police Conference, I am convinced will make 2018 an ‘exceptional’ year for this association. As with any organisation, we are only as good as the people who give up their time and efforts. The proposed creation of ‘local coordinators’ will provide even more opportunity for member engagement with a greater emphasis on localism.

So it is with gratitude that I take this opportunity to thank Dennis, Graham (S), Graham (T), Debbie, Ross, Dwayne, Frazer, Michelle, Susan and Grant for all your efforts as members of the Executive Committee over the past year.