You are not logged in. Signup to contribute or login! Not recieved your activation email? Click here to send it again.

Police got away with blue murder


“Gay men were treated vaguely with the same sort of idea that a prostitute would be treated, that they’re the lowest of the low and, therefore, they don’t warrant any extra attention or protection.  They were queers and, therefore, they go to jail because the law says so or they’d get locked up for the night and they’d see the beak the next day, which was alarming to those employed and that’s why there were so many suicides in the early days because of the stigma of families.  And, again, John’s story, he was arrested in Oxford for cottaging - he’d been to a bar and he was coming home – I was home so the first time I ever knew about it – but we survived that but he was absolutely devastated that the Police phoned me up and said, ‘We’ve got your brother here and he had one phone call, we’ve told you where he is, will you come and fetch him?’.  So, ‘Thank you very much, officer’, I put some clothes on and drove down to fetch him from the Police.  We survived all that because that’s what life’s about.  But he’d had a really bad time and in the end we paid to have the hearing done ‘in camera’ so we never got into the newspapers.  If you’d got money you could do these things, so nobody ever heard about it except our close friends, of course.”

Changing police attitudes

“In a way the police were actually forced to change, they were forced to sit up and take notice, very much like the Stonewall (riots).  I know we’ve gone far ahead but the Stonewall, for instance, was the next step here if it continued; the Police had to be re-educated. If only there had been the opportunity to get some of these bu**ers in court and let a few heads roll things might have moved a bit faster because they couldn’t put it down to the fact that they were only doing their job and that really bugs me that they got away with blue murder a lot of them.”

Contributed by: Robin McGarry, 66

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor