Deborah has been one of the force’s LBGT+ Liaison Officers since 2015 and can be contacted by members of the public who have experienced a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic crime or incident for advice and support.
She said: “I decided to become an LBGT+ Liaison Officer due to my interest in people and to increase my knowledge base, as we deal with everyone in society, and it seemed a logical progression.
“I was also the race and hate crime officer for Dacorum years ago, which meant I spoke to and helped people from a variety of backgrounds.
“I like to think I’m approachable and a good listener, which enables me to deal with and understand any situation, often thinking outside the box to reach a successful conclusion.
“In the past I met a transgender lady who was having problems with local youths screaming abuse at her, throwing eggs at her flat and scrawling graffiti over her door.
“She was over 6ft tall and had tattoos down her arms that she had acquired during her time in the Navy, and looked like she could protect herself, but this wasn’t what it was about.
“We placed everything available to us from local policing resources, but she was very philosophical about the whole situation, and felt that because she was so ‘different’, she would be better off moving to a location that was more accepting of people who didn’t fit the standard of ‘normal’.
“I spent quite a lot of time talking to her about her situation, and finding out what help was available for her in the local area. All this enabled me to gain an in-depth understanding of her problems and what her life was like.
“She eventually settled on moving to a larger town, but not before she had recommended to me her breast reconstruction plastic surgeon, whom she said was excellent! I took this as a sign that although there wasn’t much as a force that we could do to help her with her personal issues, I had helped her on a very personal level, however slight this may have been. To have someone listen to her, but also help her to understand that there are people in all walks of life (and in the police service) that are prepared to listen and help. Before meeting her she didn’t know there were officers that did this type of work.
“I want to encourage people to not be afraid to ask for help. We are a service that affords everybody the same level of assistance, whatever the situation.”