Queensland Police deliver an apology to the LGBTIQ+ communities

Queensland Police delivered a historic apology and statement of regret to LGBTIQ+ communities last week.

On 20th January Commissioner Katarina Carroll expressed regret about how the Queensland Police Service had treated gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people in the past and present. Commissioner Carroll said there was also a regret about how they had treated their own personnel as well.

Last year the QPS and committee of Brisbane Pride Incorporated committed to collaborate on the historic apology.

The QPS is proud that over the past 30 years we have built an emerging and positive relationship between our organisation and LGBTIQ+ communities.

Commissioner Carroll said this partnership was made possible by both the dedicated members of the QPS and the LGBTIQ+ communities, who strived to cultivate a new era of respect that transcended the past.

“We must acknowledge for much of its history, the QPS inflicted profound pain upon Queensland’s LGBTIQ+ people by enforcing laws that criminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“As you would appreciate, it has been an extremely emotional and challenging time.”

“To all those directly and indirectly impacted by the discrimination and prejudice from these laws, which were enforced by the QPS, I am sorry for this profound hurt and pain.”

“I am also sorry to those within our own organisation who experienced discrimination and prejudice.”

In recognising the significant milestone Commissioner Carroll said the monumental progress of the QPS in recent years reflects a better and more representative policing organisation in Queensland.

“Discrimination towards LGBTIQ+ people is not acceptable and the QPS will continue to work to eliminate it,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“I recognise today as an important milestone in the history of the QPS.”  “It is a significant step in our journey toward a fully inclusive and contemporary police service. I will ensure the QPS continues to build meaningful relationships with the LGBTIQ+ community based on trust and mutual respect.

The statement was made alongside Brisbane Pride Incorporated president Bec Johnson, and in front of 50 members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

The local Pride Group worked with the police service for several years to develop the statement of apology.

When they began the work back in 2021 Brisbane Pride noted that in Queensland, there was a long-term distrust of the Queensland Police Service amongst members of the local community because of historical homophobia, abuse, police brutality and unsafe behaviours against LGBTIQ+ people and communities.

Read the statement in full 

The Queensland Police Service is proud that over the past 30 years we have built an emerging and positive relationship between our organisation and LGBTIQ+ communities.

This partnership was made possible by both the dedicated members of our Service and the LGBTIQ+ community, who strived to cultivate a new era of respect that transcended the past.

From strengthening our LGBTIQ+ liaison program to better serve the community, marching alongside the community at Pride events, to forming an employee support network to connect our LGBTIQ+ people, we have created a better and more representative policing organisation in Queensland.

Yet there comes a time, where in order for a relationship to genuinely grow, an acknowledgement of past harm is necessary.

Despite the progress we have made, we must acknowledge for much of its history, the Queensland Police Service inflicted profound pain upon Queensland’s LGBTIQ+ people by enforcing laws that criminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults.

While the organisation may have been enforcing the laws of the time, it was nonetheless wrong and contributed to the immense anguish of many.

To all those directly and indirectly impacted by the discrimination and prejudice from these laws, which were enforced by the Queensland Police Service, I am sorry for this profound hurt and pain. I am also sorry to those within our own organisation who experienced discrimination and prejudice.

I embrace the opportunity at every point in this healing journey, to positively impact the future and I hope through this apology and statement of regret we can begin the next chapter and build upon the monumental progress of recent years.

We may not always get everything right, but discrimination towards LGBTIQ+ people is not acceptable and the Queensland Police Service will continue to work to eliminate it.

The future between us is bright, and I look forward to continuing to work with your communities to build an inclusive and representative policing service you can be proud of.

Source: Media Release


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