GPA Scotland is officially recognised by the Police Service of Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government as the Diversity Staff Association of gay/lesbian and bisexual police officers and staff in Scotland. We do not replace nor supercede any statutory police staff association or trade union.
However, with hundreds of gay and bisexual members from all across Scotland, we do offer a unique perspective of policing from an LGB point of view.
Whether you are gay/lesbian or bisexual within the police service or someone looking for advice and/or assistance, we are here to help.
You do not have to be a member of GPA Scotland (or LGB) in order to ask for our assistance. Our volunteers are committed to helping you no matter what the issue.
We understand that some issues can be highly personal and often difficult to talk about. You can be assured that all communication with GPA Scotland shall be treated sensitively and in the strictest confidence. Primarily we are here to listen. We can make interventions on your behalf however only having discussed any course of action with you fully.
We believe that everyone should be able to, without fear of discrimination, harassment or victimisation, be themselves in the workplace. For Gay/Lesbian and Bisexual people that means feeling comfortable, confident and proud about being "Out" at work. However those who identify as Gay/Lesbian and Bisexual within the police service are a relatively small proportion of the overall workforce and this can lead to a sense of isolation. For some people this presents a barrier to 'coming out' at work. GPA Scotland has hundreds of members who identify as Gay/Lesbian or Bisexual and we provide a supportive environment and community that helps reduce that sense of isolation regardless of where you work. Our member events provide an opportunity to meet other Gay/Lesbian and Bisexual police service employees. In addition we provide online networking via our members Facebook Group. We also recognise that not everyone is 'out' at work and that should always remain an individuals choice.
The Gay Police Association has over two decades of experience in providing advice on a range of issues relating to sexual orientation and the police service. At a strategic level, we regularly meet with senior police managers, police authority board members, staff associations and trade unions, at all times advocating the business case for equality, diversity and LGB inclusion. We are consulted on force policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures as well as in areas of recruitment, retention, development and progression. At an operational level, we advise the service on a whole range of issues including crime (investigations and dealing with victims), critical incidents, missing persons and community impact. We also provide confidential advice and support on a range of personal and workplace issues e.g. 'coming out' and bullying/harassment and is available to all members of staff.
A fundamental principle of policing in Scotland is 'policing by consent'. In essence this means that the police are accountable to all members of the community. In order to maintain this principle, the police must have the trust and support of all communities and likewise, be representative of the various communities residing in Scotland. As a staff association representing gay/lesbian and bisexual police officers and staff, it is important that we are visible which is why we actively engage with various community groups and organisations and take part in community events throughout the year. We also promote awareness around issues affecting gay/lesbian and bisexual people such as hate crime and bullying. A core aim of GPA Scotland is the promotion of good relations between the police service and the LGB community.
GPA Scotland is a membership based organisation. We offer two types of membership, Full and Friends. Full details of the criteria for membership can be found on our 'join' page. We are an inclusive organisation. Anyone can join regardless of sexual orientation. The benefits of membership include receiving regular updates via email, member events, access to our online community, networking opportunities, special offers, election of committee members and take part in surveys in order to help us shape policy. Members details are held in the strictest confidence and will never be disclosed to anyone outside of the organisation. Only Executive Committee members have access to members details. Membership is not an indication of someones sexual orientation.
We live in a digitial and online age and communication has never been more important. Individuals, organisations, politicians, criminal justice sector workers, other emergency services, gay/bi activists and our members are interested in the work that we do and like to be kept updated. That is why we post regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube. These services also enable people to comment and give us feedback as well as send us private messages. Additionally our Youtube videos have proven popular and we aim to expand this service covering a variety of issues of interest to our members, the police service and the wider LGB community. We send members regular e-bulletins via email and produce a newsletter in both printed and online format. We are always constantly looking at new ways to engage with our members and the wider public. One new service to be trialled in the near future is live web chats.
No movement is a monument. We don't achieve results by simply working in isolation. Across the UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond, GPA Scotland has been building partnerships with many police organisations like our own. In 2013, GPA Scotland joined the European LGBT Police Association (EGPA) and has been an active participant together with 12 other European nations. Together, we can achieve much more and benefit by learning from each other. This not only improves GPA Scotland and benefits our members but also the police service in Scotland and the communities it serves. Also, together, we can have more influence and effect greater change in parts of the world where LGB rights and persecution are still a major concern and where policing is often a significant part of that problem. A lot of progress has been made here in Scotland and that is something that we as an association are keen to demonstrate, by our international participation, to a wider audience.
Service engagement for everyone