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Police in hot water over gay flag

PUBLISHED: 12:50 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 05 October 2010

A Gay Pride flag flies above Limehouse Police Station in London. Monday 2 February 2009. The Sun Picture by Peter Jordan

A Gay Pride flag flies above Limehouse Police Station in London. Monday 2 February 2009. The Sun Picture by Peter Jordan

Peter Jordan

by Victoria Huntley COPS have had a slap on the wrist for displaying the Gay Pride flag above one of their police stations. The rainbow flag was fluttering above Limehouse Police Station on Monday to mark the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Tr

by Victoria Huntley

COPS have had a slap on the wrist for displaying the Gay Pride flag above one of their police stations.

The rainbow flag was fluttering above Limehouse Police Station on Monday to mark the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month but the multi-coloured banner caused controversy and was taken down the next day.

Borough Commander Det Chief Supt Paul Rickett told the Advertiser that the flag had been run up the flagpole after asking for permission from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner before Christmas.

He said: "I made enquiries when I was approached by a member of staff who wanted to fly the rainbow flag to mark LGBT History Month.

"When I asked what the policy on flags was I was told that it was a local decision and was basically up to me so I took the decision to fly the rainbow flag for one day to mark the start of LGBT History Month."

But Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson is reported to be unhappy that the Gay Pride flag was flown at all and reiterated the Met's flag policy which states that only the Union Flag and the Mmetropolitan Police Service's flag can be flown at police stations.

A police spokeswoman said: "All staff have been reminded of our policy and any flags other than Union or MPS flag will be replaced."

But Mr Rickett refuted claims that he had been ordered by the Commissioner to take the flag down and said it was always his intention to only fly it for one day.

He said: "I categorically was not ordered to take it down. Met policy has now been reissued and I will be sticking to that from now on and we won't be flying any flags other than the Union Flag and the MPS flag.

"We will continue to show our support for LGBT History Month and the LGBT community by attending events and encouraging people to report any hate crime that they have suffered or witnessed.

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