Manchester became a city of rainbow colours over the bank holiday weekend as the Manchester Pride festival took place. Among the thousands who participated in the parade on Saturday afternoon were police, fire and ambulance personnel from the three services in the Greater Manchester area.
Over 200 police officers and staff from 17 stations took part in the parade with the Greater Manchester Police force while also having hundreds of other officers on operational duties to coincide with the festival.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) celebrated its 10th Anniversary of taking part in Manchester Pride.
Senior officers also took part in the celebrations including Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Steph Morgan and Lancashire’s ACC Andy Rhodes.
The Police also unveiled their special Manchester Pride helmets, the ‘BobbyDazzlers’ which were designed and kindly donated to them by Brett Dearden from Creative Headspace. Each hat has 5,000 tiles and took up to 15 hours to create. Two police officers who led the parade wore the hats. ‘BobbyDazzler’ designer Brett Dearden said “The fact this project has been realised has shown changing social values, and is dedicated to those who fight for equality.”
Photo: (Inset: BobbyDazzler designer Brett Dearden with GMP Police Helmet)
The parade entry is organised by Police with Pride, which consists of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) representatives from forces across the North West who organise and promote the event nationally.
Darrelle Lynch, coordinator of GMP’s Lesbian and Gay Staff Affiliation (LAGSA), said: “This year has seen another fantastic response, with an increase in the numbers taking part and the number of police forces represented. It shows that confidence is increasing among our LGBT staff, who will again walk through the streets of Manchester proudly.
“Taking part in Pride will hopefully send out a strong message to LGBT communities that you can be gay or trans and work for the police. It should also give them confidence to talk to the police and report crimes in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously. We are committed to erasing hate crime in our communities, and anyone who has been targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity should always tell us, as we will take action.”
This year’s GMP float displayed banners encouraging people to report hate crime, and explaining that the offence covers five main areas – disability, gender-identity, race, religion or faith and sexual orientation. A Greater Manchester police car was also converted into the GMP #RainbowCar which was positioned at Canal Street over the weekend and police officers provided support to members of the public.
Firefighters, fire officers and staff from Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (GMFRS) were joined by their neighbours at Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service in the parade. This is Cheshire’s eight year to join GMFRS attend the parade.
The Fire Services used the opportunity to promote fire safety and encourage people to be much more aware of the dangers of fire and to show off their new-look pride fire engine.
Pic: (Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service Pride Appliance)
The theme for this year’s Manchester Pride was ‘Once Upon a Time’, a theme which was supported by all three services. Cheshire FRS focused on the recruitment of new whole-time firefighters. ‘Once upon a time’ there was a perception that you had to be male, straight and white to join the fire brigade. In contrast today’s fire and rescue service is an open and inclusive workplace, where everyone can make a difference regardless of gender, sexual orientation or background.
Members of the North West Ambulance Service, which covers the Greater Manchester area were also out in force for Manchester Pride on Saturday. The ambulance service promoted sensible drinking and stay safe during the pride festival.
Photos: (Greater Manchester Police Service, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service)
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