CUMBRIA Constabulary’s chief constable has responded to a Cumbrian MP who criticised the force for plans to update one of their cars with Pride livery.

The plans came under scrutiny last month when a tweet posted by the group We Are Fair Cop – which repeatedly speaks against LGBTQ+ inclusion policies in police forces – said: “Despite being required to save millions, senior management has just given approval to a new rainbow car.”

The police said the new livery will encourage people to report hate crimes, which they said were underreported.

“As a force, we work hard to reach out to all of our diverse communities, including undertaking work on violence against women and girls and the National Race Action plan.

“This vehicle is a small part of the work we are doing to engage with and show support to the LGBT+ community – both internally and externally.

“Our car is not yet operational.

“The cost for livery of a police car is £657, for the LGBT+ branding it is an additional £247,” they said.

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, who describes himself as ‘gender-critical’, a term used to describe a wide range of views held in opposition to some contemporary progressive transgender rights and politics - said: “If you need a rainbow car for people to approach you about a crime, you’re doing policing wrong.”

He subsequently sent a two-sided letter to Michelle Skeer, chief constable, saying the plan was a waste of public money which risked alienating the public.

He questioned whether the design would indeed make a difference to LGBT people in terms of reporting hate crimes.

He asked if such liveries exist in support of other groups like BAME people, Christians, or Jewish people.

He said the public wants safer streets, not police chiefs ‘telegraphing their woke credentials’.

Ms Skeer sent a letter back, which the police declined to share with the News & Star.

However, elements of the letter have been seen, highlights of which included: “This is not sanctimonious nor political.

“The additional detail to this car will cost £247, this is not excessive in terms of the work we are doing to engage and show support to the LGBT+ community, internally and externally.”

Skeer reminded the MP of the need to encourage LGBT+ victims of hate crime to come forward as incidents are underreported and the police have a job to build trust with said community.

She wrote: “I do not agree at all that trying to reach out positively to a diverse community is exclusive.

“This is about being inclusive and ensuring that we represent all strands of diversity and all sections of our communities.

“I am not apologising for championing diversity.”

READ MORE: Police defend LGBTQ+ positive livery after criticism by 'gender critical' group