Billboards declaring ‘no pride in cops’ spring up along Pride in London parade route

A colourful sign reading 'All Our Pride?? No Pride in Cops' is displayed outside a bus stop in London

Posters declaring there is ‘no pride in cops’ have appeared along the parade route for Pride in London.

The adverts have appeared at bus stops along the route of the parade, set to take place Saturday (2 July), and come amid a major reckoning for the Metropolitan Police.

The force was placed in special measures by the policing inspectorate on Tuesday (28 June) after a series of failures evidenced “serious or critical shortcomings”. 

Among the Met’s shortcomings is its botched investigation of the murders of four gay men by serial killer Stephen Port, with the force facing a fresh IOPC investigation over its handling of the case.

This, along with years of racist, misogynist and anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour by Met Police officers, has led to prolonged calls for Pride in London to ban police from taking part in the parade – calls that organisers have resisted.

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants), a queer activist group that stands in solidarity with all migrants and refugees, shared an image of the bus stop advert to Twitter on Tuesday (28 June).

“Pride in London’s theme this yr is #AllOurPride so why are the Met Police, who are under special measures from their own watchdog for being racist, sexist and homophobic, invited to march,” the group wrote.

Sam Bjorn, of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, told PinkNews the group had planned the billboards to coincide with Pride in London.

“We didn’t imagine that the Home Office would be deporting LGBTQIA+ people a couple of days before Pride, but unfortunately it’s not surprising,” Sam said.

“We see through their attempt to pinkwash their public image by covering their social media in the Pride flag colours. The London Met might just have been put on special measures but we were never in doubt that the police are corrupt, racist, homophobic and have no place in a Pride parade. There is no pride in the Home Office and no pride in the police.”

In an open letter, the activist group urged Pride in London to exclude police officers from marching.

Signed by advocacy groups including Gay Liberation Front – which organised the UK’s first Pride march, 50 years ago – ACT UP London, Channel Rescue and Bender Defenders, the letter detailed how the Metropolitan Police has “officially and repeatedly denied that it has a problem with institutional homophobia” in the last year. 

It also said that Met failed to “properly investigate serial killer Stephen Port”, saying that this “inaction” led to the “deaths of young gay men”. 

“This is not an isolated incident and is reflected in widespread distrust of policing among the LGBTQIA+/queer community, not just in London but elsewhere,” it continued.

“It is especially true for people of colour and queer migrants. 

“The police and the prison industrial complex – including the system of border controls – are well documented to be institutionally racist and perpetuate harm towards these communities. Their concerns are not listened to and they do not feel safe around the police.

“Due to our deep-rooted concerns with policing – and the history of Pride itself as resistance against police violence – it is time to end the practice of police participation in Pride each year. It is time to end the presence of police banners.”

LGSMigrants added that police presence at Pride “not only offends by being undeserving” but also “deters others from celebrating with their community”. The group explained that having police presence at Pride as well as patrolling the event makes Pride “unsafe” for the community. 

LGSMigrants demanded there be no police presence and no Home Office presence at the 2022 Pride parade.

It also called for corporations who “facilitate the policing and deportation state and who fuel the climate crisis”, and groups who “discriminate against particular marginalised members of the queer community, including trans communities and queer Muslims” to be excluded.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) announced on Tuesday it would place Scotland Yard under advanced scrutiny after several scandals uncovered a litany of “serious or critical shortcomings”.

The embattled police force is facing a fresh investigation over its handling of the Port case.

Separately, a damning report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct in February revealed a horrific pattern of homophobia, bullying and harassment within the Met

Scotland Yard has also faced harsh backlash for the Child Q scandal, in which a Met Police Officer strip-searched a Black schoolgirl while she was on her period and without another adult present. Four officers are being investigated for gross misconduct, and a safeguarding report said that racism was “likely to have been an influencing factor”. 

Confidence in the force was shaken after the murder of Sarah Everard by a Met officer, who is serving a whole-life jail term. The Met has been heavily criticised for how it handled the event and the aftermath.