A police male voice choir has been forced to change its name and disassociate itself from its force because of its refusal to allow women to join.
Derbyshire Constabulary Male Voice Choir has been singing and helping raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity since 1956.
But the 62-year-old choir, which is now entirely civilian, has been pulled over by Chief Constable Peter Goodman because its name is not politically correct.
He said: “We are an equal opportunities employer and we are committed to having an organisation where there are no enclaves where people from different backgrounds cannot go.
“We need to represent our communities in every aspect of our public presence.
“Having a male voice choir representing the organisation is incompatible with this, especially as there are no members of the choir who are employed by or who volunteer with us.
“I wish them all the very best for the future.”
Members said they felt they had “become victims to political correctness”, and were “saddened” that it had not been possible to find a solution which would have allowed the relationship between the force and the choir to continue.
Mr Goodman’s suggestion that it become a mixed voice group was rejected because of “the logistics and difficulties of undertaking such a transformation”.
Instead, the group is looking for a new venue to rehearse in – and from June, it will be renamed the Derbyshire Community Male Voice Choir.
Gone too will be the police uniforms that members have worn for performances – originally worn by police officers in the 1960s to 1980s – which will be replaced with new costumes “to create a more contemporary image”.
Erm ….. are they male? Do they have voices? Are they a choir? If so then male voice choir is both factually and politically correct. This type of PC madness doesn’t help the police’s reputation!
— Martyn Scott (@Martyns5) April 5, 2018
Chairman Kevin Griffiths said: “We fully understand the rationale behind Mr Goodman’s decision, however after considering the logistics and difficulties of undertaking such a transformation we felt unable to accept his invitation.
“We are very good at what we do, and to undertake such a change would have required the recruitment of up to 50 new female members with a host of associated costs.
“We felt that to attempt such a change would have destroyed the choir and felt it was better to sever our association with the constabulary and continue the good work we do under a new name.”
Was there some rule that prevented the police setting up, say, a Sweet Adelines choir? Would they really have shut down an all-women choir as discriminatory?
— Andrew Lilico (@andrew_lilico) April 5, 2018
The move has caused a storm on social media, with Twitter users describing it as “ridiculous” and “shameful”, with some questioning whether the same stance would have been taken if it had been an all-female group.
One wrote: “Erm ….. are they male? Do they have voices? Are they a choir? If so then male voice choir is both factually and politically correct. This type of PC madness doesn’t help the police’s reputation!”
Another said: “Was there some rule that prevented the police setting up, say, a Sweet Adelines choir? Would they really have shut down an all-women choir as discriminatory?”
In April 2016, the choir was awarded the Chief Constable’s Commendation for its charitable fundraising.
In addition to singing in a male voice choir, many members also belong to a number of local mixed voice choirs and enjoy both forms of ensemble.