Northern Ireland police's employment of former 'conversion therapy' psychiatrist sparks concern

Despite his history of promoting so-called 'conversion therapy' practices, the PSNI has reportedly used charity money to employ Dr Paul Miller.

Photo of Northern Ireland police officer standing beside police car.
Image: X @PSNIArdsNDown

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) internal source has revealed that the force is reportedly using charity money to employ psychiatrist Dr Paul Miller despite his reputation for promoting so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices in the past.

Dr Miller’s history with conversion therapy was first identified in 2008 when former DUP MP Iris Robinson told a BBC radio show she had a “very lovely psychiatrist” who treated LGBTQ+ people. She said, “I’m happy to put any homosexual in touch with this gentleman and I have met people who have turned around and become heterosexuals.”

Further concerns were raised over Dr Miller’s methods, as he is reported to have said LGBTQ+ identities were pathological and could be changed and suggested some of his patients have massages with a male masseur to become heterosexual. His practices were brought to the attention of the General Medical Council in 2010.

Despite his controversial work being widely reported, Miller has been employed by PSNI for years. The police force hired him as a consultant to train therapists on the occupational health and wellbeing team, and part of the funding for his position came from a £260,000 Movember Charity grant which raises money for men’s health and mental health issues.

A PSNI whistle-blower who is concerned about Dr Miller’s role with the force alerted i about the psychiatrist’s history and employment in November.


When contacted by i, Dr Miller said he stopped “SOCE” (sexual orientation change efforts) therapy in 2010 and: “In the 13 years since, I have profoundly changed my practice around diversity and LGBTQIA2+. At this stage in my professional life I want to be clear that I do not support SOCE in any form.”

However, i reports that in 2012, Core Issues Trust, a Northern Irish organisation that claims to “support those leaving LGBT identities, behaviours, attractions and life choices” and sells merchandise reading “I left LGBT”, listed Dr Miller on the ‘council of reference’ and included his name on conference materials.

In a statement on X, The Rainbow Project said the Northern Ireland police force has “serious questions to answer” regarding the safety of LGBTQ+ officers, adding, “At a time of rising rhetoric and violence against LGBTQ+ people we need the PSNI to do better.”


Conversion therapy has widely been discredited, but these ineffective and harmful practices continue to be inflicted on LGBTQ+ people, typically by faith-based “therapists” who want to force people to change their identities. These processes exacerbate internalised homophobia and transphobia and use guilt and shame to inflict harm.

Earlier this year, LGBT Ireland highlighted a report commissioned by the Government and published by Trinity College Dublin, which states that “considerable research has largely concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are pseudo-scientific, ineffective, and harmful to the individual”, but conversion therapy continues to be legal in Ireland and the UK.

The UK Government made a commitment to ban conversion therapy over five years ago, but legislative changes have yet to be implemented. Earlier this week, a conversion therapy ban was not mentioned in the King’s Speech, leading many to believe that plans had been delayed once again. However, it has since emerged that a new bill to ban conversion therapy is in development and will, in fact, be debated by parliament.

In Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has committed to enacting a fully LGBTQ+-inclusive ban on conversion practices, although it remains uncertain when it will be introduced.

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