Uniformed PSNI officers to march in Pride parade for the first time

Three PSNI vehicles have also been designed in rainbow colours

Uniformed PSNI officers to march in Pride parade for the first time

Image via @PoliceServiceNI on Twitter

Police officers in Northern Ireland are to march in an annual Pride parade in uniform for the first time.

The festival runs there from July 28th until August 6th.

Three PSNI vehicles have also been designed in rainbow colours to highlight hate crime.

They carry the message: 'Policing with Pride - Hate Crime is Unacceptable – To Stop It, Report It.'

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said: "Pride is an important series of events for those in the community who identify as being LGB+T and the Police Service of Northern Ireland sees this as an opportunity not only to show its support for these members of our communities but also to highlight that hate crime, in whatever form, is wrong and the importance of reporting it.

"Hate crime should not be tolerated and victims should be encouraged and feel confident that when they contact police that their concerns will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately."

PSNI officers and staff have been involved in the festival for many years - but this is the first time they will take part in uniform.

Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly said: "We are delighted to support the clear message of the PSNI during Belfast Pride that any sort of hate crime is wrong.

"It’s a very sad reality that homophobic and transphobic hate crime continues to be committed in our society.

"This is not an issue for the police alone to deal with but as they are often the first point of contact, the message and service provided by the PSNI is critical."

Members of the Garda Marching Band have been involved in Dublin's Pride Parade since 2014.