The Queensland Police Service has committed to issuing a formal apology to the LGBTIQ+ community for historically enforcing discriminatory laws in the state.
- Police will not be able to march in uniform at the Brisbane Pride Festival
- This is the second year Brisbane Pride Inc has enforced the ban
- QPS will issue an apology to the LGBTIQ+ community in 2023
It comes after police were told not to wear their uniforms again if they take part in this weekend’s Brisbane Pride Festival March and Rally on Saturday.
Second year of ban
A ban on marching in uniform was introduced in 2021, the first time since former Police Commissioner Ian Stewart allowed uniformed officers and staff to take part in the event in 2015.
Police were asked not to march in uniform by the committee of Brisbane Pride Incorporated last August, a joint statement between the organization and the QPS released earlier this week said.
“At the time, the decision was not made lightly and followed a process of having conversations and spending time listening to the real and current concerns of many members of our local community,” the statement said.
“The decision to communicate this decision to QPS was made as a way to start a conversation that would ultimately bring the whole community together to discuss meaningful and sustainable change and find ways to actively work together towards that change.
The organizations said they had continued their talks over the past 12 months.
“Both organizations agree that a formal apology from the police is one of the steps necessary for us to move forward for a positive future together, and we are moving close to that milestone,” the statement said .
They expect a formal apology to be delivered in early 2023.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to complete the process in time for the Brisbane Pride Festival March and Rally and although the police have been invited to march in 2022, they have been respectfully asked not to do so in uniform,” it said in the declaration.
“Both the QPS and Brisbane Pride Inc remain committed to this process which will enable uniformed officers to show their pride by marching in uniform again in 2023.
“We recognize the difficulties this change process may present to members of the QPS who are also members of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
Excuse for ‘criminalized sexuality’
In an internal memo to staff also issued this week, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the formal statement of “regret and apology” to LGBTIQ+ people would be issued in the coming months.
She told staff the apology would acknowledge the QPS’ past actions that affected LGBTIQ+ people by “enforcing the laws of the time that criminalized the expression of their sexuality”.
“We acknowledge the hurt and pain this has caused,” the memo said.
Commissioner Carroll said in the memo that she hoped staff would be able to march in uniform next year.