Facing an epidemic of stabbings and other violence, UK police have been criticised for prioritising mean social media comments instead by painting Pride-themed colors on their cars to encourage more reporting of “hate crimes.”
The aim of the so-called “hate crime cars” is to inspire more confidence among gay and transgender victims of mean comments that police will have a sympathetic ear. UK police promoted the Pride-themed makeovers in an Instagram post earlier this month, asking followers whether they had seen such cars or knew why they existed.
“Cars are there in the communities on normal policing patrol just to show the community that we want you to come forward,” Chief Constable Julie Cooke said. “It is there to try and give confidence to our LGBT+ community, but also to other underrepresented groups.”
As national “LGBT+ lead” for UK police forces, Cooke has spoken out on the importance of using people’s preferred pronouns and has championed the hiring of more gay and transgender officers.
Online critics, however, blasted the latest anti-hate-crime initiative, saying police should be more focused on ridding communities of violence. To put it another way, Twitter user Paul Bowen asked, “How about just doing your job?”
How about just doing your job… 🤷🏻🤦🏻♂️Police pin hopes on ‘rainbow cars’ to drive out hate crimeForces across the UK add a splash of colour to their fleet to encourage people to report racist, homophobic and transphobic incidentshttps://t.co/EmlmvmBgmc
— Paul B 🇬🇧 🔴 (@pauldbowen) August 22, 2021
UK Heritage Party leader David Kurten agreed, tweeting, “The police should be arresting murderers, rapists, vandals, thieves, thugs, fraudsters and pedophiles, not parading around in LGBTTQQIAAPP rainbows looking for politically incorrect comments.”
What nonsense. The police should be arresting murderers, rapists, vandals, thieves, thugs, fraudsters and paedophiles, not parading around in LGBTTQQIAAPP* rainbows looking for 'politically incorrect' comments. https://t.co/d8arRBXKXw
— David Kurten (@davidkurten) August 22, 2021
Knife crime in England and Wales rose to the highest on record in the 12 months through March 2020. In this year’s first seven months, 22 teenagers were murdered in London, up from 14 in all of 2020.
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Other observers mocked the programme, such as saying of the rainbow cars, “The circus is outside to make little woke kids happy.”
Meanwhile in the UK, the circus is outside to make little woke kids happy .https://t.co/kqCNMLlEmi
— Expat in Poland 🇵🇱 (@BasedPoland2) August 22, 2021
Babylon Bee editor Kyle Mann called it “another one of our Babylon Bee prophecies fulfilled,” putting news of the new police cars alongside a satirical 2020 article headlined, “Democrats propose replacing all police with travelling bands of hippies singing ‘Imagine.’”
— Kyle Mann (@The_Kyle_Mann) August 22, 2021
Former police officer Harry Miller told the Telegraph on Sunday that while the rainbow cars may signal support for gay and transgender people, they also show “political leanings.” He added, “You no longer see a police car or a police officer who is there to support everyone, from all political persuasions, without fear or favour.”
We don’t see the Met with special cars for knife crime, even though the number of stabbings in London is appalling.
It’s unclear how many police cars will get the new paint job or how much the makeovers will cost, but this is not the first time that UK police have dabbled in Pride-themed cars. Sussex Police were criticised in 2017 for spending £750 to paint two patrol cars for a Pride parade, even as the department struggled with budget cuts. Across the UK, police reportedly spent at least £90,000 on Pride-themed merchandise, such as lanyards and T-shirts, from January 2017 to July 2020. Manchester police deployed one patrol car with a Pride-themed flag in 2014 to encourage reporting of hate crimes. That vehicle even had flashing lights of different colors and was used to lead the city’s Pride parade in 2014.
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