Inspector denies homophobia

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A police inspector has denied being homophobic towards a gay officer.

Ben Stokes, 23, a former member of the Nottingham Police claims he was discriminated against after his sexuality was revealed when he started a relationship with a male teenager.

He told an employment tribunal this week of 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.”

But Mr Payne insisted his comments were part of “breaking down barriers and to show that I was aware of those issues and lifestyles.”

He said he had undergone “diversity training” and was familiar with lesbian and gay forums in the city.

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.

The hearing continues.