UK Police Demand DNA From Ex-Soldier Who Had Gay Relationship 30 Years Ago

250px-Soldiers_Trooping_the_Colour,_16th_June_2007The British Armed Forces lifted its ban on homosexual service members in 2000, but a discharged veteran has found himself threatened with arrest because of a gay relationship he had as a solider in the early 1980s.

In 1983, while serving with the Royal Fusliers, Stephen Close was sentenced to six months in prison for “gross indecency” after he admitted to having a sexual relationship with a male colleague. (Homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain in 1967, but remained an offense in the military until 1994.) 

Close was later also convicted of sexual assault because both he and the other man were under 21, the age of consent for gay sex at the time. 

That was all water under the bridge, though, until the Crime and Security Act 2010 gave police broad new powers to investigate “serious crimes.” Under the assumption that he may be connected to some unsolved crime, Close, 50, has been ordered to provide a DNA sample—or face arrest.

“If you look at the details of my criminal record, I can’t see what possible threat I’m meant to pose to the public and why I’ve been targeted by police,” Close told the Manchester Evening News.If I did the same thing today, it would not longer be considered illegal. Yet the police still want my DNA on record and to me it just begs the question ‘why?’”

A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police Department said authorities understand Close’s sensitivity but says that DNA samples Are necessary: “We are concerned about the particular issues his case raises and therefore we would invite him to make direct contact with Greater Manchester Police so we can review his case,” explained GMP contable Ian Hopkins.

If anything, Close should be issued an apology, not an arrest warrant.

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  • 2eo

    Greater Manchester Police. The same police force that knowingly avoids patrolling the gay village between 12.30AM and 3.30AM on a Friday and Saturday and doesn’t monitor the CCTV in real time in that area either.

    It isn’t surprising to see this.

    The DNA samples are nothing more than tagging and monitoring of minorities under the guise of legality.


    Ho come on now dude! the fucking English, people are always full of shit.

  • jwrappaport

    @KARUADAM: Bollocks. They gave us the common law, Oscar Wilde, Christopher Hitchens, and Stephen Fry. Oh, and our language. And Shakespeare.

    That said, this story just reeks of police bigotry.

  • 2eo

    @jwrappaport: And 2eo, don’t forget him, whoever he is.

  • alexoloughlin

    @KARUADAM: Before you resort to saying “fucking English”, quite uncalled for and unjustified, the Manchester police have looked at the case and issued a formal apology by going to his home and offering an apology to him in person, realizing it was a mistake. It wasn’t a gay witch hunt either which this article seems to imply. A police chief in another part of the UK in Hampshire has just been given an award for its support of LGBT people in its community by none other than StonewallUK. Case closed.

  • GeriHew

    @alexoloughlin: Don’t be too quick to say “case closed”.

    According to Peter Tatchell Stephen Close is not an isolated case:

    Peter Tatchell writes:

    Men convicted of victimless homosexual offences three decades ago are threatened with arrest if they refuse to provide samples for the national DNA database

    Manchester, London, Northumbria and West Midlands police are visiting the homes of men convicted of consenting same-sex behaviour and demanding they provide DNA samples. The convictions date back three decades and were under the homophobic ‘gross indecency’ law that has since been abolished.

    According to reports I have received from the victims, police officers turned up unannounced on their doorsteps. They were handed letters requiring them to give DNA samples to be stored on a police data base alongside the DNA of murders, rapists and child sex abusers.

    The men were warned that failure to comply could render them liable to arrest.

    Read On:

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