Apology for How Anti-Gay Laws Were Enacted

Chief Constable Gary Roberts has this afternoon issued an apology for the way the constabulary treated some gay men in the 1980s and 90s.

While sexual acts between men were illegal until September 1992, the way the police acted, under the command of former chief constable Robin Oake, has long been criticised.

In the letter Mr Roberts acknowledged that the police must always uphold the law but apologises for the way that this was sometimes done in relation to a law that at the time criminalised homosexuality.

Mr Roberts said: ‘In many ways this is the most difficult letter that I have had to write in a lifetime of public service that began in October 1981. If I get it wrong, I risk appearing insincere, which would harm what I wish to achieve, but equally I wish to recognise the dedicated service given by the many decent people, who spent their working lives policing the island.’

A statement from the Constabulary said: ‘Whilst the Chief Constable has not – and cannot – apologise for the enforcement of the law, as police officers take an oath that requires them to enforce it, he has offered an apology for the way that this was sometimes done.

‘The Chief Constable accepts that not everyone will welcome the letter. Some people may feel that he has not gone far enough, while others may think he has gone too far. However, he has sought to find the right balance that reflects the need to try to move forward, but whilst acknowledging that generations of police officers believed that they were doing the right thing. He stresses how much society has changed and how much the Isle of Man Constabulary has also changed, becoming much more diverse and more reflective of the community.’

Read the letter below: