Merseyside Police has been voted as one of the top UK’s most gay-friendly police forces by a leading national gay right's charity.

Out of 378 employer organisations which entered this year’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, Merseyside Police was placed 24th overall - but came second among the police forces to Hampshire Constabulary.

Merseyside Police first entered the index in 2009 and has consistently placed among the top three most gay-friendly police forces.

The index has been running for the past five years and is the definitive national benchmarking exercise for showcasing the UK's top employers for gay, lesbian and bisexual staff.

Chief Inspector Val Powell said: "This is the third consecutive year that Merseyside Police has been named as one of the top performing police forces in the UK for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

"This is testament to our continuing commitment to provide an excellent service to the diverse communities we serve and it is fantastic to see our hard work reflected in this index.

"Each year the competition in Stonewall gets tougher with an increasing number of organisations taking part but we will continue to work hard to make Merseyside Police an employer of choice for all, regardless of sexual orientation, and for the Force to be reflective of all the diverse communities that we serve."

Merseyside Police took part in Liverpool's first gay pride parade last summer and for the last four years has annually flown the rainbow flag for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) across its police stations.

They also supported the launch of the City of Liverpool Children Services Anti-Homophobic Bullying Strategy on IDAHO day.