Gwent’s Chief Constable, Pam Kelly, has made a formal apology to the LGBT+ community, acknowledging past homophobic witch-hunts and discriminatory law enforcement.

In a letter to LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, Kelly expressed regret for the harm caused by the often abusive way the police enforced historic anti-LGBT+ laws:

“We recognise that our LGBTQ+ communities were disproportionately affected by the way historical laws, policies and processes may have been implemented.

We understand that these past injustices and inequity will have had an ongoing impact on the trust in our service by members of these communities.

As the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, I’m sorry that members of our LGBTQ+ communities may have had experiences that will have damaged their confidence in the police,” Kelly wrote.

Kelly is the tenth UK police chief and the first in Wales to apologise, following similar apologies by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, West Mercia and Nottinghamshire forces.

Her apology is 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 for Pam Kelly’s apology:

“My immense gratitude to Pam Kelly for her forthright apology to the LGBT+ community on behalf of Gwent police.

“Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Pam Kelly 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 Gwent 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 Gwent 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. I hope it will inspire more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual assaults,” 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.