Gay ex-police officer claims force victimised him

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A gay former policeman is claiming he was victimised by his force after coming out.

An employment tribunal heard that Nottingham Police allegedly discriminated against Ben Stokes, 23, after his sexuality was revealed when he started a relationship with a male teenager.

The mother of Mr Stokes’ 16-year-old partner complained to Notts Police who later launched an investigation into him based on his subscription to a gay website and accused him of being a paedophile, the tribunal heard.

The ex officer is claiming discrimination on the grounds of his sexuality. He described a visit from professional standards unit inspector Steve Payne to his flat, “Shortly after arriving at my apartment, Inspector Payne said ‘so this is the gay village of Nottingham, is it?’

“I was surprised at this because I was not used to my colleagues knowing I was gay.

“He said he felt my membership of the site was inappropriate and the disclosure of my profession on it was inappropriate. Being gay is obviously very difficult, especially when you are not out.”

He then received calls from friends claiming officers had been asking personal questions about him using police equipment in the bedroom, the tribunal heard.

Mr Stokes said his partner was warned against seeing him and was arrested after 12 police officers raided his flat and allegedly found suspect images under his flatmate’s bed.

The tribunal heard that the row left the complainant, who resigned from the force, feeling suicidal.

Nottinghamshire Police will present their evidence next week.