Nottinghamshire Police apologise for past LGBT+ witch-hunts

Kate Meynell is the eighth UK police chief to say sorry

London – 29 November 2023


The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Kate Meynell, has offered an “apology” to the LGBT+ community. Writing to Peter Tatchell, she said: “Our past actions, as well our inaction, has caused members of our LGBT+ taken in enforcing the law on what would now be rightly recognised as being discriminatory processes and procedures. For this I apologise for the hurt caused.”

She is the eighth UK police chief to apologise to the LGBT+ community, following similar apologies by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Avon & Somerset and Cambridgeshire forces.

The campaign, #ApologiseNow, was launched by the Peter Tatchell Foundation in the summer and was backed by the comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady before his tragic sudden death.

Responding to an appeal for an apology by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Kate Meynell wrote:

“I believe it is right and necessary to recognise that policing has not always been inclusive in our approach. Our past actions, as well our inaction, has caused members of our LGBT+ taken in enforcing the law on what would now be rightly recognised as being discriminatory processes and procedures. For this I apologise for the hurt caused.”


Peter Tatchell today responded with praise for the Chief Constable’s statement:

“My immense gratitude to Kate Meynell for her forthright apology to the LGBT+ community on behalf of Nottinghamshire police. She has not only said sorry but backed it up with positive, proactive action to engage with the LGBT+ community and better serve and protect them. We are very grateful. This will go a long way towards securing a more constructive, collaborative relationship between the Nottinghamshire police and LGBT+ people – further building trust and cooperation. It is a commendable continuation of the great work the police have been doing in recent years.

“Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Kate Meynell didn’t hesitate or evade the need for a clear apology. That marks her out as a commendable police chief. We thank her and her officers. This apology does the Nottinghamshire police proud and will win much appreciation and praise from the LGBT+ community.

“Having drawn a line under past police homophobia, I hope this will boost LGBT+ confidence in the police and encourage more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM PETER BELOW BELOW

The Peter Tatchell Foundation is asking every Chief Constable in the UK to say sorry for past homophobic persecution.

The #ApologiseNow petition is now live at




Peter Tatchell added:

“We were not asking the police to apologise for enforcing the law, but to apologise for the often illegal and abusive way they enforced it.

“Officers raided gay bars, clubs and even private birthday parties, insulting LGBTs as ‘poofs’ and ‘queers’. They gave the names and addresses of arrested gay men to local papers, which led to some being evicted, sacked and violently beaten. Police harassed LGBTs leaving gay venues and arrested same-sex couples for kissing, cuddling and holding hands, right up until the 1990s.

“The police did not make the law but they chose to enforce it in ways that today would be deemed unlawful and unacceptable. They went out of their way to target gay and bisexual men to boost their arrest figures and ‘crime fighting’ reputation. Young handsome male officers were sent into public toilets and parks, where they lured gay men into committing offences and then arrested them. These so-called ‘pretty police’ acted as agents provocateurs.

“The yearly average of homosexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales was nearly three times greater after the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, than it was in the previous eight decades of total criminalisation – clear evidence of a police witch-hunt.

“At the height of this post-1967 persecution, in 1989 there were 1,718 convictions and cautions for so-called ‘gross indecency’ between men in England and Wales – almost as many as in 1954-55 when male homosexuality was totally illegal, and the country was gripped by a McCarthyite-style anti-gay witch hunt.

“If the police say they have changed, then all forces need to show it by acknowledging past wrongs. They need to follow the laudable lead of Nottinghamshire, Avon and Somerset, Cambridgeshire, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Sussex Chief Constables and the Metropolitan and City of London Police Commissioners. All UK police chiefs should apologise for the many decades of past police harassment. Apologise now!

“Other police services across the UK are currently engaging with the #ApologiseNow campaign, but as discussions are on-going we will not be naming them,” said Mr Tatchell.