By Jamie Bryson
Some may recall the recent controversy over the PSNI’s participation in gay pride, and the associated decorating of their land rovers to promote the event.
I was one of those that opposed such meddling in politics, yet the PSNI justified their participation by saying that gay pride was an inclusive event that was open to all and that they wished to encourage the LGBT community to join the PSNI and report hate crime.
By the same logic why then have the PSNI not taken steps to decorate their land rovers with Poppies for Remembrance Day?
Let us assess the PSNI’s gay pride justification and apply it to the Poppy.
The Poppy is a symbol of hope and remembrance. It is non-political and open to all. It is every bit, if not more, inclusive as the PSNI claimed that gay pride is. So the first limb of the PSNI’s own ‘test’ to be met in relation to such engagement with events or causes is passed.
Ex servicemen and women feel utterly betrayed by the justice system and failed not only by the Patten reforms, but also by what appears to be a clear prosecutorial bias against former members of the RUC, UDR, British Army and loyalists. So if we then look at the second limb of the PSNI ‘test’, namely a group that feels marginalised and excluded, then this test is also met.
The PSNI placed a great emphasis on wanting the LGBT community to join the PSNI. Surely they also want those that would identify with the Poppy, and thus the remembrance of the PSNI’s own former colleagues in the RUC, to join the police service?
Given the clear precedent set by the PSNI’s participation in, and support for, gay pride then they must surely apply the same standard equally across the board.
I look forward to the PSNI embracing the Poppy symbol on some of their land rovers over the remembrance period. If they refuse to do so then I will equally look forward to a detailed explanation as to how this request differs from the precedent set by their participation in gay pride.