It’s so frustrating: you want to believe that times have improved; you want to believe that you can trust the police; you want to think that you’ll be taken seriously when you’re the victim of a crime — but then there’s a story like the one coming out of England where police failed to properly investigate a serial killer preying on the gay community.
Stephen Port was convicted of killing four young men over more than a year. He hid three of the bodies in the same churchyard, but police insisted the murders were unrelated. In fact, one prevailing police theory maintained that the victims were simply drug users (you know how the gays can be) and they all overdosed on, like, hardcore club drugs or something.
Now Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the outgoing chief of Scotland Yard, has acknowledged that the police work on these case was quite shoddy. The police have launched an investigation into the lapses, which is probably small consolation to the families of the victim.
One British civil rights campaigner pointed out that if the victims had been rich young women, rather than low-income gay men, the investigation would have been quite different.
If any good is to come out of this, maybe it’ll improve the way police deal with cases involving the gay community. It’s not the first time a killer has preyed on queers, and it won’t be the last. Hopefully next time, the police will do better.