A matter of Pride for police
Fake police hats and handcuffs usually feature at Auckland's Pride Parade but next year punters will get the real deal.
Fully-uniformed police officers are now allowed to march in the annual parade said Police Commissioner Mike Bush today.
The move comes as police look to take a modern-day approach to interacting with the community - celebrating diversity and properly reflecting the people they serve.
In the past a number of staff have asked to march the parade in their uniform.
"In our view, we should be much clearer about the fact that empathy and respect for diversity are also core to the way we work as police," said Bush.
He acknowledges the police as having strong core values, particularly in respect to the Treaty of Waitangi but questioned: "Are we being as clear as we could be about all the values we hold dear as an organisation?"
Officers marching in uniform will do so with the understanding they are off duty and have to act with professionalism.
"We should encourage police to show pride in who they are and the communities they represent. . . it is important we are seen to 'walk the talk' where we can."
Uniformed defence force personnel have marched in the parade since 2013 and uniformed police have marched in similar events in different parts of America, Europe and Australia for many years.
"We're really excited to hear that the police are able to march in uniform during the pride parade next year,'' Rainbow Youth Communications Manager Toni Duder said.
With the New Zealand Defence Force leading the way with their support of their queer and trans service members it is awesome to see the New Zealand Police Force following suit!"