Police in crime-hit Manchester unveil a rainbow-coloured patrol car in bid to demonstrate its gay-friendly credentials
- Police car unveiled to help officers combat homophobic hate crime
- Officers say car, with rainbow lights, is example of 'modern policing'
- But gay rights group brands it 'tacky', saying it will not help victims
So a few eyebrows were raised yesterday when Greater Manchester Police revealed the latest tool in its crime-fighting armoury: a rainbow-coloured patrol car.
Resplendent with multi-coloured flashing lights instead of the traditional blue, the ‘rainbow car’ is intended to combat homophobic hate crime.
It will lead the city’s Pride parade in August before being put into operation in suburban areas to raise awareness of homophobic crime.
The car, funded by donations from businesses, will not be sent to hate crime incidents, instead it is intended to reassure victims that police are approachable.
David Allison, of the gay rights group OutRage!, said he doubted whether the ‘rainbow car’ would help victims.
He added: ‘It may be a bit tacky from an aesthetic point of view.
‘At least it will draw attention to a police car in a particular vicinity, so it will heighten visibility which will help deter potential wrongdoers. But I can’t see it going further than that.
‘If it is indicating that police are trying to take the issue more seriously, and this is their PR way of advertising that, then fair enough.
‘But I don’t know how successful they will be - it’s not going to revolutionise the worst parts of Manchester.’
Asked at the launch whether the rainbow-striped car could be viewed as patronising, Sir Peter said: ‘It would be patronising if we weren’t doing a huge amount of other things to work with the gay community and to fight hate crime.
‘There is a really serious issue we have got (in Greater Manchester) on the level of hate crime and the level of community tensions.
‘It is quite right, in a democratic society, that people can object to things, what changes is when it moves from objection to targeting a particular group or to preaching hatred.’
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said the car was an example of ‘modern policing’.
Ruth Hunt, acting chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said: ‘We welcome any efforts to increase awareness of homophobic hate crime and engage with local communities and we hope that this is a success.’
Earlier this month, GMP’s Police Federation chairman Inspector Ian Hanson said Manchester was not ‘safe’ after midnight because of the amount of alcohol-fuelled violence caused by 24-hour drinking laws.
He said: ‘There are a quarter of a million people coming into the city centre to enjoy themselves every weekend.
‘But at four o’clock in the morning we will have just half a dozen police officers on duty in the city centre, or even as few as four officers, which is beyond belief.’
But his claims were denied by the city centre’s spokesman Councillor Pat Karney, who said: ‘As somebody who lives in the city and is regularly out after midnight, it’s not dangerous.’
NWN: Dear oh dear oh dear ! No surprises here with GMP. They haven't had an half decent Chief of Police since James Anderton. The current idiot Peter Fahy is about as left wing as it is possible to be. He should be on the dole ! Making a 'laughing stock' of the Police.