NSW Police Apologises To 1978 Mardi Gras Marchers For 'Pain And Hurt'

04/03/2016 11:33 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

The NSW Police Force has apologised for their violent policing of the the first gay and lesbian Mardi Gras, a week after the NSW parliament made its official apology.

Describing the NSW motion of apology as a special moment for the first group of marchers in 1978 -- dubbed the 78ers -- as a special moment, the force's Sexuality and Gender Diversity spokesperson Superintendent Tony Crandell said it was important for police to voice their view.

"I spoke with our commissioner this morning and I have his full support in saying that the NSW Police Force is sorry for the way that march was policed back in 1978," he said in a statement.

"For that we apologise and we acknowledge the pain and hurt caused by police actions back then."

He said the modern police force is a very different organisation today and is today proud of its diversity.

"We have come a long, long way. We have had our own journey," Supt. Crandell said.

78er Diane Minnis told the Huffington Post Australia the police apology was appreciated and praised Crandell for his work with the community, but she said the apology should have come from commissioner Andrew Scipione.

"We were pretty surprised," she said.

"(Crandell) is a great supporter of the community.

"Even though he said it was with the commissioner's blessing, we wanted something from the commissioner."

Pressure mounted on the police force to make an apology last week in the lead up to the NSW apology. Greens MP Jenny Leong, who read out personal accounts of the fear and violence experienced by many on the night, called for the NSW police to add their voice to the apology.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s editor in chief Darren Goodsir apologised for the paper’s role in publishing the names of the 53 people arrested on the day of the march.

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