Officers receive training to support LGBTQ+ community
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Around thirty Hertfordshire officers received specialist training last week to help them better support victims of LGBTQ+ hate crime and the wider community.
The officers volunteered for the training and are now officially LGBTQ+ Liaison Officers. This specialist role plays an integral part in the constabulary’s efforts to protect the LGBTQ+ community from hate crime and to increase awareness and understanding.
A number of officers from Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary also attended the course which took place on Friday 19 May - in the same week that celebrated International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
Alongside their normal duties, LGBTQ+ Liaison Officers are responsible for a number of areas:
Encouraging the LGBTQ+ community to report hate crimes to police and to give information, advice and support to victims and witnesses of crimes
positively engaging with the LGBTQ+ community and developing good working relationships with relevant partners and key community groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues
advising and supporting fellow police officers dealing with hate crimes
raising awareness amongst colleagues and promoting understanding about the needs of the LGBTQ+ community
The training provided real-life examples and advice around situations where local officers had provided support to the LGBTQ+ community. This included responding to a schoolboy attempting to take his own life after being bullied for being gay.
The course took place at Hertfordshire headquarters and was led by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire LGBTQ+ police support networks. Guest speakers from LGBTQ+ charities also attended.
PC Toby George, Chair of the Herts Police LGBTQ+ Network, said: “It was great to see so many colleagues taking up the opportunity to help the LGBTQ+ community.
“The real-life case studies were very eye-opening and really hit home the importance of building up trust with the LGBTQ+ community.
“We know that hate crime remains under-reported so it is important that we as the police are doing everything we can to support our LGBTQ+ community and give them the reassurance they need to come forward and make a report.”
Reporting hate crime
Hate crimes are crimes like any other, but that have the added distinction that the victim was targeted because of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Victims and witnesses can report incidents to police without fear via the non-emergency number 101, online or 999 if a crime is on-going. Victims can be reassured that they will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity.
For more information about hate crime, including how to report it and where to get support go to the Herts Against Hate website (opens in a new window).
How to contact an LGBT+ Liaison Officer
LGBT+ Liaison Officers can be reached by calling the non-emergency number 101 or by contacting us online. In an emergency or if a crime is on-going, report it immediately via 999. The support of an LGBT+ Officer can then be requested if required. We will treat what you tell us sensitively and in confidence.
To contact an LGBT+ Officer in your local area for non-urgent advice ring 101 and ask to leave a message for them to contact you.