Merseyside Police will tonight be lighting up its force Headquarters at Canning Place in rainbow colours to support the “Come out of the Shadows” event, Liverpool Pride 2017 (#LiverpoolPride #InternationalLove) on Saturday, 29 July – the building will be illuminated until Sunday, 30 July, the last day of the Liverpool Pride celebrations.
Headquarters will be illuminated in support of our LGBT community along with a host of iconic landmarks across Merseyside, including St George's Hall, Liverpool Central Library, the Royal Court, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, the Kop at Anfield, and the World Museum in Liverpool; The Atkinson in Southport; Crosby Library; the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton and the Steve Prescott Bridge in St Helens.
The ‘Come out the Shadows’ initiative, which aims to showcase the region as an inclusive, diverse and tolerant destination, has been part funded from the Police Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund for the last two years.
In nine days' time the Chief Constable of Merseyside, Andy Cooke and the Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy will be joining officers and staff from across the force at Liverpool Pride and he will be joined by Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley, the Black Police Association, police Chaplain Lee McCullough and the Dog Section.
Officers taking part in the carnival style parade, which has gone from strength to strength since it first started in 2010, will be in uniform for the march through the city centre, with support staff, friends, families, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) allies, as well as partner agencies and other organisations. Last year more than 5,000 people attended Liverpool Pride and this year the organisers are expecting an even bigger record attendance.
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, said: "I'm delighted to be supporting both the Come out the Shadows initiative and the wider Liverpool Pride 2017 celebrations again this year.
"These festivities are a great way of demonstrating what an inclusive, diverse and tolerant community we live in. By lighting our most recognisable buildings in the iconic rainbow flag we are sending out a powerful message that we celebrate equality and will not tolerate discrimination in any form. This message will resonate even more loudly during the weekend of Pride when thousands of people will line the streets of Liverpool to publicly demonstrate their support for the LGBT community and their commitment to saying no to hatred.
"We are remembering a young man who was murdered because he was different. Sadly, members of the LGBT community still face hate crime on a daily basis and Pride is an opportunity to say that no-one should ever be targeted or abused because of their sexuality. I hope Pride helps to give people the confidence to know that if they have been subjected to abuse or hate that they can speak out in the knowledge they will be listened to, understood and supported."
This is the eighth year that officers and staff from the force will be taking part. The force's LGBT support network is organising the attendance of police officers and staff taking part and they will march under the banner of "Police with Pride".
The theme of this year's Liverpool Pride is International Love and the organisers are hoping that people will take time to reflect on the 72 nations who have not yet legalised homosexuality and do not recognise LGBT+ communities - the flags of those 72 nations will be flown alongside Pride flags during the parade. This year will also see fun packed family day on Sunday, 30 July, in St Johns Gardens and St George’s Plateau, when there will be a programme of events supplemented with a community zone, childrens’ activities, market stalls and a festival stage featuring live entertainment.
The march is due to begin at St George's Hall Plateau at 12pm, with people arriving from 10.30am, and will process through the city centre before finishing at St George’s Hall Plateau where an afternoon of events will be held.
The Merseyside Police with Pride car will also be out and proud, and officers from Community Engagement will have a stall in the marketplace area at St George's plateau where they will be available to talk to members of the public who want to find out more about hate crime, recruitment and the force's insight scheme where people can join the police for a day to see what happens.
Chief Superintendent Peter Costello, who is policing the event, said: "We're really looking forward to policing Liverpool Pride 2017 and welcoming everyone taking part and ensuring they enjoy the event and their time in the city.
"Officers will be visible throughout the event to help make sure everyone has a great time and enjoys it safely, but as with any event there are also some simple steps people can take to help protect themselves and their belongings:
- be aware of your surroundings and those around you as Pride will be a really busy event
- take care of your property and keep valuables close - don't leave bags and mobile phones unattended at any time
- keep wallets, purses and cash safe and out of sight
- Pride is very much a family event so keep children close by as there will be large crowds
- if you are going to enjoy the city's renowned pubs, bars and clubs, please do so safely. Drink responsibly, stick with your friends and plan your route home and you should have a great time.
"Liverpool Pride 2017 promises to be a fantastic day for all and is just one of a host of big events for Liverpool during the summer and I'm confident it will be a success."
Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Andy Cooke said: “This will be the second time I will have taken part in Liverpool Pride and after last year I know it will be a fantastic event and I’m looking forward to marching alongside LGBT colleagues from Merseyside Police. It is an opportunity to show our commitment to helping the communities we serve become places where people can truly be themselves, free from prejudice and discrimination.
“It must be remembered that Liverpool Pride was first held in memory of Whiston teenager Michael Causer, who was murdered because he was gay in August 2008. To this day the Liverpool Pride event is still organised in Michael's memory and is a reminder that we cannot allow the minority of people, who are motivated by hate because they resent, disapprove of or are ignorant of diversity, to intimidate or hurt other people just because they perceive them to be different.
“By celebrating diversity through events like Liverpool Pride we can make it clear that Merseyside Police will not tolerate hate crime of any kind and that those who commit hate crimes have no place in our communities.
"I'm looking forward to taking part in the parade and we will continue to support and work with our LGBT partners to raise awareness and promote inclusive communities. I hope everyone enjoys what will undoubtedly will be a very safe and successful Liverpool Pride 2017.”
Chair of Merseyside Police LGBT Network, Tracy O'Hara, said: "Since 2010 our Police with Pride contingent has grown. More people want to march and be visible and proud.
"I am proud to work for an organisation where I can truly be me. I know for some this is still not the case and that is why visibility is so important. Love is love and this year's theme is important when we look at the lack of rights for LGBT people across the world. That is why I march at Pride for all those unable or in fear."
More information about the event is available on www.liverpoolpride.co.uk
If you have been affected by hate, call Merseyside Police on 101 or, if for any reason you don't wish to speak to the police, contact national charity Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625.