Avon and Somerset Police Acknowledge Past Wrongs to LGBT+ Community

Avon and Somerset Police Acknowledge Past Wrongs to LGBT+ Community

In a landmark statement, Sarah Crew, the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, has extended a formal apology for the historical mistreatment of the LGBT+ community by the police force. This act of contrition aligns with the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s #ApologiseNow campaign, which started in June and seeks to mend the strained relations between law enforcement and the LGBT+ population.

Campaign for Change

The #ApologiseNow campaign encourages police forces to confront and apologize for past actions that were harmful to LGBT+ individuals. These actions include invasive raids on gay bars, derogatory treatment, and discriminatory targeting of the LGBT+ community. Avon and Somerset Police have become the seventh police force to engage with this initiative, taking a significant step towards acknowledging past injustices and fostering a future of inclusion and mutual trust.

Painful Past, Hopeful Future

Chief Constable Crew expressed deep regret for the force’s historical conduct, acknowledging the “hurt, pain, and anger” caused, which eroded the trust and confidence of the LGBT+ community in the police. The apology comes after extensive internal consultations and discussions with community stakeholders, ensuring that the sentiment is backed by a robust action plan.

Building Bridges

Looking ahead, Avon and Somerset Police have committed to “starting a conversation” in the coming year to enhance local policing strategies. This initiative will include close collaboration with the community to ensure that the force moves forward with a comprehensive understanding of the needs and concerns of LGBT+ individuals.

Unambiguous Recognition

Sarah Crew’s apology was noted for its clarity and directness, leaving no room for ambiguity regarding the force’s acknowledgment of past wrongs. Peter Tatchell, a renowned activist, commended the apology for its straightforwardness and the chief constable’s proactive approach to initiating positive change.

A Joint Journey Forward

The chief constable emphasized the importance of joint progress, stating, “Rather than us moving forward alone, I think it would be much more effective to move forward together.” This sentiment was echoed by Tatchell, who highlighted the campaign’s aim not to cast blame but to forge improved relations for the equitable treatment and protection of LGBT+ persons under the law.

Commitment to Honour Promises

The sincerity of the apology was bolstered by the confidence expressed by Peter Tatchell in the force’s commitment to their promises. It signifies a move away from shaming tactics towards constructive dialogue and actions that ensure equality, respect, and legal protection for the LGBT+ community.


The apology from Avon and Somerset Police marks a significant step in addressing historical grievances and building a more inclusive society. As police forces across the country are called upon to reflect on their past, this moment serves as a catalyst for change, symbolizing hope and the potential for healing long-standing wounds within the community.