Superintendent dons rainbow helmet against hate crime on #IDAHOBIT

PC Freddie Tomalin on patrol in Cambridge with Superintendent James Sutherland (right)

PC Freddie Tomalin on patrol in Cambridge with Superintendent James Sutherland (right) - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

A Cambridgeshire police officer has gone viral for his display of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

Superintendent James Sutherland was pictured on Facebook wearing an "ever so colourful" rainbow helmet while patrolling Cambridge on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT, May 17).

The headgear attracted praise and criticism on Facebook.

Superintendent James Sutherland on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)

Superintendent James Sutherland on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

"We want common sense, quality, targeted policing for all. If standards were high enough, pathetic stunts like this wouldn't be at all necessary," one comment read.

Another read: "Why are the police involved in promoting political affiliation for one minority group?"

But one Facebook user hit back: "Some police officer is just showing that he’s a safe person to talk to for LGBTQ+ people.

"Look at these comments! People think homophobia is no longer a problem - as if!"

PC Freddie Tomalin on patrol in Cambridge with Superintendent James Sutherland

PC Freddie Tomalin on patrol in Cambridge with Superintendent James Sutherland - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Pride in Ely spokesperson criticised Mail Online article about the cop, which asked if Supt Sutherland is "Britain's wokest".

They said: "Pride in Ely has worked with the Superintendent for several years and he has provided tremendous support to the LGBTQIA+ community in Ely and the wider area."

They added: "In a country where in recent surveys 64 percent of respondents has been the subject of anti-LGBTQ+ violence or abuse, 29pc of those had been subject to physical violence, and only one in eight LGBTQ+ people have reported their most recent assault to the police, according to the Hate Crime Report 2021, this kind of gutter press is dangerous and inflammatory.

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"We at Pride in Ely stand with Superintendent Sutherland and all those working to make a difference in all communities."

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesperson said: "Today is IDAHOBIT. Superintendent James Sutherland donned his ever so colourful rainbow custodian as he joined PC Freddie Tomalin on patrol around Cambridge this morning.

"Sadly, many from this community still face abuse and hate for just being themselves.

"While some may see this as 'policing hurt feelings' we remain steadfast that we will continue to be there for all communities and individuals who are victims of abuse and hate."

Between January and August 2021, police data shows there were 18 reported hate crimes against someone for their sexual orientation per 100,000 residents in Cambridgeshire.