Police federation moves awards ceremony from Brunei-owned hotel in protest against anti-LGBT+ laws

Hotel management refunded deposit for event and was 'incredibly understanding'

Margaret Davis
Wednesday 10 April 2019 16:59
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LGBT activists protest against the Sultan of Brunei who has ratified a law to make homosexuality punishable by stoning, at the Dorchester Hotel on April 6, 2019 in London, England.
LGBT activists protest against the Sultan of Brunei who has ratified a law to make homosexuality punishable by stoning, at the Dorchester Hotel on April 6, 2019 in London, England.

The Police Federation has joined the backlash against anti-gay laws in Brunei by moving its annual bravery awards away from the Dorchester hotel.

Chairman of the organisation John Apter said on Twitter that “doing nothing was not an option” after the tiny but extremely wealthy Asian nation brought in a punishment of stoning to death for gay sex.

Actor George Clooney and Sir Elton John were among celebrities who announced they would no longer stay at any of a string of luxury hotels – including the Dorchester – which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

Mr Apter said: “I can confirm that following recent events we have made the decision to move the PFEW-HQ Bravery Awards away from the Dorchester Hotel. My values, the PFEW and policing as a whole would not allow us to be associated with such a regime.”

In a second tweet he went on: “This decision does not reflect on the staff at the Dorchester Hotel however, doing nothing was not an option. An alternative venue has been identified and I will make sure the Bravery Awards are as special as they have always been. This is the right decision.”

The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), through the Dorchester Collection, owns London’s the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane as well as Coworth Park in Berkshire.

Crowd breaks down barriers outside London's Dorchester Hotel as protest against Brunei's anti-LGBT laws gets underway

Also in its portfolio of hotels, among the world’s most exclusive, are two of Hollywood’s best-known establishments, the Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills.

The Police Federation represents more than 119,000 officers in England and Wales up to the rank of chief inspector.

Its annual bravery awards are held to celebrate extraordinary feats of courage.

In a further statement issued through the Police Federation, Mr Apter said hotel management had refunded the deposit for the event and been “incredibly understanding”.

He said: “We cannot in all conscience support a regime which is so fundamentally opposed to the values of respect, diversity and equality we hold so highly within our organisation and policing as a whole.

“And although the decision is no reflection on the staff of the hotel itself who have always done their utmost to ensure that the event is a success, it is the right one.

“Local management at the hotel has reimbursed us after cancelling the deposit and have been incredibly understanding in these circumstances for which I am grateful.”

Press Association

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