Concerns about human rights abuse have prompted the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner to withdraw £6m invested in Qatar.

Katy Bourne made the decision after members of an independent audit committee criticised the investment, saying it jarred with the force’s approach to equality and diversity.

Committee member Mike Heap said: “We talk about ethical investing – lending money to Qatar does seem to jar somewhat with everything we say about equality, diversity and how we like to go about our business in the force and the PCC.

“Lending money to a country that still outlaws homosexuality is something we should probably look to trade out of.

“I think holding money in those kind of funds is probably contrary to a lot of really good work that the force and the PCC does elsewhere.”

As well as its attitude to LGBQT+ people, Qatar’s record when it comes to labour laws has also been questioned.

Last year, a report from human rights group Amnesty International said thousands of people were exploited by unscrupulous employers and were not being paid for their work.

The £6m represents more than half of the PCC’s £11.4m investments as of March 31. The year before, the figure was £46.5m, with £20m of that going to Qatar.

Mrs Bourne said: “The Joint Audit Committee were quite right to raise the investment in Qatar at [the] meeting and I share the concerns about gender and sexuality equality and labour conditions in the country that have been highlighted.

“With the Qataris funding football clubs and hosting the next World Cup, their record on employment and equality has long been under the spotlight from within this country and around the world.

“Human rights observers say, whilst progress is being made, there is still a long way to go.

“I will be withdrawing our investment in Qatar and I have asked for a review across our investment portfolio.”