I was not at all surprised to hear that the PSNI, in their current recruitment campaign, is reaching out to the LGBTQ community.
The LGBTQ lobby has been so successful in self-demonisation that society is now walking on tip-toe for fear of offence and being ridiculed on the Nolan Show or prosecuted by the Equality Commission for daring to have an opinion on LGBTQ matters.
It's notable that the growing Chinese, Eastern European, Black and Asian community, who are not so vociferous as the LGBTQ lobby, don't get the same positive discrimination in this recruitment campaign.
Has any thought been given to the potential operational consequences of this positive discrimination recruitment drive? First, bias works both ways. We have heard allegations of bias by members of the LGBTQ community of alleged crimes being investigated by an officer with, say, perceived strong Christian principles. With a police service now promoting LGBTQ recruitment, should we be concerned about LGBTQ bias by police officers when alleged offences are being investigated? Can an openly transgender recruit ask for both a male and female uniform and present for duty in whatever way they choose?
If an officer who designates themselves binary, but is biologically male, comes on duty with make-up is this okay? What about the use of toilets? Will other officers be comfortable with female transgender members using male toilets or vice versa?
How will complaints be treated? Will the PSNI have strict codes of practice for dress and turnout on duty, either in or out of uniform? How would such a code be equality impact-assessed?
Of course, many people reading this will declare 'What a homophobe', but these are real issues. We expect our police service (or, indeed, any public service) to present in public as treating all people equally and to do so requires a neutrality in attitude and presentation which causes no offence to any part of the community.
However, the Asher's Bakery case should ring warning bells. It is only a matter of time before the types of issue highlighted above arise. What then? More prosecutions taken by the Equality Commission?
In the interests of equality, will Christian members be allowed to openly wear innocuous symbols of their religion, such as a cross?
In the rush to be all things to some people, I hope the PSNI has thought through the potential operational and legal consequences of their recruitment drive, but somehow I doubt it.