These stories never fail to depress me. The Warrington Guardian is reporting that three men have been arrested for having sex in public toilets. This happened after having been “observed” by a plain clothes police officer. You can go back fifty years looking at the reported cases in this area or look at the more recent media reports and in each and every situation the offence committed was to be viewed by a plain clothed police officer. A police officer who placed himself in the situation, who acted so as to clearly want to view or participate in such an act (thus making the men feel safe in starting such an act) and then they arrest them. It is never a member of the public who has witnessed such an act. Interestingly, as my own research has shown, the people involved in this were not the classic image of an old man but actually reflects a spread of ages – 55, 37 and 29. Warrington is also handy for urban centres in Liverpool and particularly Manchester which have active commercial gay scenes. A quick search on Gaydar reveals 518 profiles so there are also clearly opportunities for men to meet other men through the net online and in commercial spaces. We don’t know whether the men defined themselves as straight, bi or gay, if any category, but this story once again underlines the phenomenon of cottaging continues, continues to get Police attention.
At a time when knife crime is gripping the attention of our nation, where do we find our Police? Hanging around in the loo.