Over the last three years, 27 forces in England and Wales have spent money on LGBT-themed pens, lip balm, shoelaces, key rings, and lip balm.
According to data made available under freedom of information regulations, the 27 forces spent £66,689 between 2019 and 2022 on LGBT-related items.
South Wales Police was the biggest spender, spending $24,000 on items including rainbow flags, face paint, T-shirts, badges, pens, whistles, wristbands, sporks, trolley keyrings, water bottles, and keychains.
While Wiltshire Police spent £538 on LGBT lanyards and “rainbow fuzzy bugs,” Lancashire Police spent £1,500 on rainbow lip balm, flags, keychains, lanyards, and stickers.
Further issues regarding police priorities are raised by this expenditure, since authorities are solving the lowest percentage of crimes on record while total offences are at an all-time high.
Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has recently advised police chiefs to “back to basics” and use “common-sense policing” in order to cease “debating gender on Twitter.”
Other police departments that spent money on the rainbow included Staffordshire Police, which spent £3,300 on shoelaces, balloons, and lanyards, and Northamptonshire Police, which spent £337 on goods including LGBT selfie frames, bunting, and Snapchat picture filters.
The Ministry of Defense Police spent over £1,000 on rainbow flags, lanyards, and mugs, while Essex Police spent £7,700 but did not specify which kinds.
While Cheshire Police spent £130 on an intersex flag, Greater Manchester Police spent £2,900, including on rainbow epaulettes.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has previously said that police rainbow vehicles serve as “hate-crime cars” that entice citizens to file reports of controversial “non-crime hate incidents” such as social media comments.
A previous investigation found that fire departments spent £35,000 on rainbow-themed products and £17,000 on decorating fire trucks over the past five years.