A more recent London Pride with Police Officers considerably more relaxed about everything! | Lewis Whyld/Press Association | 14314
In the early 1980s the police were notorious for their treatment of LGBT people, who were seen as an easy target for arrests and intimidation. In June 1982 the Gay London Police Monitoring Group was created to expose the systematic harassment of the gay and lesbian communities by the police and to educate them about their rights. Galop’s first major achievement was to prove that the police were using agents provocateur to gain arrests and convictions of gay men.
A splinter project, the Lesbians and Policing Project was also developed.
GALOP Annual Report Cover | 1992 | 15519
In the 1980s a quarter of the cases Galop dealt with involved AIDS including police making home arrests in space suits. Galop encouraged gay men to come forward to report ‘queerbashing’. The Police began to understand that they needed the co-operation of the gay community to help solve homophobic crimes.
In 1988 Section 28 had become law, but for the first time consultative meetings took place between representatives of the LGBT community and the police. When members of the gay community did come forward to assist enquiries, they faced offensive behaviour from the Police, who continued to suppress public gay sexual behaviour, from displays of affection to cruising. Massive police resources were dedicated to the control of these essentially ‘victimless’ crimes despite a huge rise in crimes with genuine victims, but by the 1990s arrests for gross indecency had dramatically fallen.
Unfortunately the years 1999 to 2001 were dark ones for London’s gay community. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry saw a huge change in police response to race hate crime. Ultimately this led to the implementation of Minimum Standards for homophobic crimes.
The Crown Prosecution Service also introduced policy guidelines for dealing with LGBT hate crimes, and the Association of Chief Police Officers set out new guidelines for more sympathetic policing of public sexual activity. Following the nail bombings in 1999, the LGBT Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police was established.
Galop is still operational and is a charity. Galop’s Telephone number is: 020 7704 2040.