QPS officers proudly march in uniform for Brisbane Pride Festival


Last year was the first time officers marched in uniform at the Brisbane Pride Festiva, Queensland Police sayl

Queensland Police Service officers will proudly fly the rainbow flag and march in uniform for the second year at the Brisbane Pride Festival this weekend.

Commissioner Ian Stewart said the participation would strengthen the relationship between the QPS and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community.

“Queensland is made up of many diverse groups as is our organisation. There is no one group that represents all of us,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Marching at the Brisbane Pride Festival shows our support for the LGBTI community as well as our own QPS officers and staff who identify as LGBTI themselves.

“We provide a service to the people of Queensland and it is incredibly important every member of our vast and diverse community feels protected, safe and included.

“The members of our LGBTI Liaison Officer Program are a committed group. They have been instrumental in improving our services, support and access to police for LGBTI people across the state.

“Each officer is very dedicated to their role in building relationships and providing police services to the LGBTI community.

LGBTI liaison officer Sergeant Ben Bjarnesen will bear the flag and lead the march alongside his colleague Senior Constable Wendy Townsend.

Sergeant Bjarnesen said marching in uniform showed that the QPS embraced diversity within the organisation and the community.

“As LGBTI liaison officers, we are really passionate about showing LGBTI people to have the confidence to be themselves.

“Last year was the first time we marched in uniform. It was such a great feeling to march as an officer and as a person who identifies as LGBTI.

“Being at the Brisbane Pride Festival is about accepting our differences. We believe in the power of inclusivity and its ability to break down barriers.

“Our community is so incredibly diverse and we want to be able to reflect that in our service.

“We want to work together to ensure progress.

“We will always aim for an appreciation of every member in our community, no matter who they love or what gender they identify with.

“We also have a number of non-LGBTI QPS members marching who are taking the opportunity to show support for their colleagues and for diversity.

“We are honoured to be able to march again this year and fly the QPS flag.”

Earlier this year, for the first time in QPS history, the LGBTI pride rainbow flag was flown outside Brisbane Police Headquarters in Roma Street as part of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) activities.

“We’ve come a long way in giving people the confidence to be themselves and to create this environment so the wider LGBTI communities can also have confidence in the organisation,” Commissioner Stewart said.

The LGBTI liaison program began in 1997 to establish and maintain effective liaison between police and LGBTI communities. The program aims to develop appropriate policies and strategies to ensure equitable service across the state. As at September 2016, there were 115 LGBTI liaison officers across the state.

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