Police chief defends officers dancing the Macarena at Pride: ‘I expect them to join in’
A police constable has defended his officers after they were criticised for dancing the Macarena at an LGBTQ+ Pride event.
Footage of Lincolnshire Police officers dancing at the city’s Pride event on Saturday (20 August) sparked backlash on Twitter, with one user one calling the force an “utter embarrassment” and another suggesting the officers should be focusing on their work.
“Too busy to turn up whenever anyone rings up. Can’t think why. Madness,” read one complaint.
Lincolnshire chief constable Chris Haward took to social media to defend his officers, saying that policing is about “engagement” as well as “enforcement”.
Their job at Pride was to “make sure that everyone attending experiences a safe and happy event”, Haward tweeted on Sunday (21 August).
He added: “I expect my officers and staff to engage with people attending Pride; to chat, laugh, join in, and even dance, where it is appropriate to do so and does not detract from their duties.”
— Lincoln Police (@LincolnPoliceUK) August 20, 2022
Lincoln Pride organiser and director of accessibility and inclusion, David Brown, told PinkNews the backlash to the video has been “a bit of a shock”.
He said it mirrors the “underlying tone of homophobia” present in the lead up to the event.
“We always expected it, certainly as the video was getting more and more views and I think there’s been a huge backlash in terms of an underlying tone of homophobia in general with the event going ahead in the first place,” he added.
“Ultimately it’s been targeted at the police and their role in Pride.
“Many Prides have stopped police attendance or certainly police presence through the parade and the event, but what we wanted to do was have standing solidarity with the police and show that people change and that police views on Pride have certainly changed.”
Brown said people didn’t see the “number of incidents that happened on the day that were stopped because of having such a large police presence”.
He added: “We had officers everywhere across the site and they quickly put a stop to any incidents and ensured we had a safe environment.”
The Lincolnshire Police Rural Action Team said: “In the same way we attend rural shows and farming meets, our officers also join other community events too.
“You’re right that we have to prioritise what we do, and engaging with the community is something we should always be doing.”
Police presence at Pride continues to be a contentious topic.
In July, Pride in London asked uniformed police to stay away from its march after activists signed an open letter and put up billboards along the parade route calling for “no cops at Pride”.
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