Gay Rights Police Chief Now on an 'Equality Crusade'; Diversity Drive: David Strang, Lothian and Borders Police Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: Graham Grant

A SCOTS police chief was criticised yesterday for declaring that equalopportunities was his 'overarching' goal - despite spiralling crime rates.

David Strang, the chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police, has presidedover a major diversity drive including the hoisting of a gay rights rainbowflag above his force's headquarters.

The extraordinary initiative has also seen an equality official recommend allcrime suspects should be asked if they are on a 'transgender journey' - jargonfor a sex change - to avoid causing them offence.

But new figures contained in the force's annual report show ordinary victims ofcrimes such as murder and housebreaking are suffering as the diversity crusadecontinues.

Last night, the latest statistics fuelled concern that police chiefs are morepreoccupied with political correctness than catching crooks.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Daily Mail in May showed Scots police forcesemploy 21 diversity workers - whose job is to safeguard political correctness -at a total cost of [pounds sterling]620,059 last year.

Former Strathclyde Police Chief Inspector Mike Liddell attacked the Lothian and

Borders force last night for its 'blinkered' approach. He added: 'The"overarching" goal should be to protect the public and to fight crime.Whyshould a police force become a vehicle for the narrow, politically motivatedinterests of minority groups?' His comments came as it was revealed the overalldetection rate in Lothian and Borders - the proportion of crimes solved -

is only 43.5 per cent, a figure Mr Strang insists he is 'delighted' with.

At the same time, the number of murders has increased from ten two years ago to14.

The number of culpable homicides has doubled from six to 12, while indecentassaults have also risen in the past year by nearly 6 per cent, from 316 to334.

Crimes of dishonesty - including housebreaking - have shot up nearly 22 percent in the past year from 27,879 to 33,969.

Yet in its annual report, published on the force's website, Mr Strang says hisofficers are 'giving their best' working in 'diverse communities'.

He adds in another website document, trumpeting the merits of equality: 'Iremain fully committed in driving the diversity and equality agenda in theforce and in achieving the overarching goal of the duty to promote equality ofopportunity. …