Vancouver police 'very disappointed' in Pride's uniform ban
Police will still be allowed to march in parade, but not in uniform
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Vancouver police say they are "very disappointed" in the Vancouver Pride Society's decision to ban police officers from wearing uniform in next year's pride parade.
"We are very disappointed by the decision made by the Vancouver Pride Society to ban VPD members in uniform and in VPD T-shirts from the 2018 Pride Parade. Our members have proudly walked in the parade alongside the community for 21 consecutive years," Const. Jason Doucette, a spokesperson for Vancouver police, said in an emailed statement.
Officers and civilian members of VPD will be allowed to participate in the parade, but not if they're wearing uniform, according to the pride society.
The question of whether police uniforms should be allowed in the parade has been the subject of intense debate in the LGBTQ community since the 2016. During the 2017 parade in Vancouver, 20 per cent of police were allowed to wear their uniforms. Next year, no uniforms will be allowed but branded VPD clothing is still a possibility, Vancouver Pride Society executive director Andrea Arnot told Metro Thursday.
Arnot has previously said it told Vancouver police of its decision to ban uniforms in September but Doucette denied this.
"The VPD had no input into the final decision and we heard about the ban through a news article," said Doucette.
But he acknowledge the department needs to continue building trust with the community.
"We acknowledge that there are some people in the LGBTQ2S+ community who do not want to see us walking in uniform. We have taken many steps to reconcile with this community and continue to work on an ongoing basis to build trust."
The Vancouver Police Department has a full-time LGBTQ2S+ liaison officer and it implemented a Safe Place Program in 2016 to encourage businesses to provide a safe haven for the LGBTQ community.