South Yorkshire Police ‘failed to act on hate’

Nathan Fortune with his 'God adores you' sign challenges protestors
Nathan Fortune with his 'God adores you' sign challenges protestors

Student leaders have hit out at South Yorkshire Police over their handling of a protest by a Christian group at a Sheffield Pride event.

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union said people at the event were targeted by ‘hate preachers’ but officers ‘did nothing’ to stop the abuse from the group.

Protesters were quickly surrounded by some of those in attendance, who started pro-LGBT chants, and were eventually escorted away from Endcliffe Park.

Transgender Nathan Fortune, aged 22, from Sheffield, walked into the middle of the group holding up a sign saying ‘God adores you’.

Police said they were examining a number of complaints they had received since the event on Saturday, July 30.

The Students’ Union said it had written to South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings to complain about the police.

Education officer Luke Renwick, who attended the event, said: “We expected the police to move these people on or move them back from the event.

“It was so wrong what they were saying and they just stood there.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said the force was aware of concerns about a protest group.

He said: “While everyone has a democratic right to freedom of expression, it does not give individuals the right to commit any criminal offence.

“We will also be looking to meet with members of the LGBT community to discuss any concerns they may have following the event.”