Two more police forces apologise to LGBT+ community for past witch-hunts

13 out of 45 police forces have now said sorry to LGBTs


London, UK – 13 March 2024

The Chief Constables of North Yorkshire and Dorset have made a formal apology to the LGBT+ community, acknowledging past homophobic witch-hunts and discriminatory law enforcement. They bring to 13 the number of police chiefs who’ve said sorry.

In a letter to LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, Dorset’s Chief Constable, Amanda Pearson, expressed regret for the harm caused by the often-abusive way the police enforced past anti-LGBT+ laws:

She wrote:

It is clear that the way in which previous laws were enforced and the associated police activities caused significant harm, trauma, anger and injustice to LGBT+ communities, which has severely damaged trust and confidence in policing and we have a lot of work to do build that trust.

“As Chief Constable of Dorset Police, I want to apologise for the way in which those

laws were enforced and for any physical and mental harm and trauma that this

caused to LGBT+ individuals and communities in Dorset as a result.”

Pearson’s letter then went on to outline eight policy initiatives designed to consult with LGBTs and improve police-LGBT+ relations.


North Yorkshire’s Acting Chief Constable, Elliot Foskett, who came out as bisexual three years ago, said:

I offer my sincere apologies to the LGBTQ+ community for any historical discriminatory behaviour they were subjected to by any member of this force.

“To rebuild trust, it’s important to recognise the harm caused not only to the individuals subject to unacceptable police behaviours of the past, but also the upset and distress experienced by their families and loved ones, and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. I recognise that it’s important to acknowledge former injustices, to forge stronger relationships for the future. I hope that this acknowledgment demonstrates our commitment as a force to work with our LGBTQ+ to do exactly that.”

His letter reiterated his force’s commitment to engage with the LGBT+ community and to support Pride events.


The Dorset and North Yorkshire apologies follow similar apologies by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Gwent, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, West Mercia, Wiltshire and Nottinghamshire forces.

Today’s apologies are in response to the #ApologiseNow campaign initiated by the Peter Tatchell Foundation. The campaign was backed by comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady before his untimely passing.

Peter Tatchell expressed gratitude:

“My immense gratitude to Amanda and Elliot for their forthright apologies to the LGBT+ community on behalf of their forces. 

“Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. These chiefs didn’t hesitate or evade the need for a clear apology. That marks them out as commendable police chiefs. We thank them and their officers.  

“These apologies do the police proud and will win much appreciation and praise from the LGBT+ community. It will go a long way towards securing a more constructive, collaborative relationship between the police and LGBT+ people – further building trust and cooperation. Saying sorry helps draw a line under past police homophobia.  It’s a laudable continuation of the great work these forces have been doing in recent years. I hope it will inspire more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual assaults, which is what we all want,” said Mr Tatchell.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation continues to urge every Chief Constable in the UK to apologise for their force’s historic homophobic persecution in decades past. Thirteen apologies so far, and thirty-two police forces still to go.

The #ApologiseNow petition can be read and signed at