Northumbria’s Police Commissioner has hired a team of 19 ‘hate crime advocates’ to educate officers on LGBT issues and the “needs” of sexual minorities.
Assembled by the LGBT Federation North East — a regional umbrella group of campaigners and individuals in the region who “aim to change attitudes and behaviours towards LGBT people”, according to its website — the team will also offer “one-to-one guidance” to victims of so-called hate crime as well as training police, according to the Newcastle Chronicle.
Regional Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said: “I’m delighted to fund this initiative that will see these champions bring LGBT issues to the forefront of the legal system and ensure our police are trained to the highest standard in understanding the needs of this community.
“Many victims of LGBT hate crime find it difficult to report what has happened to them, and that’s why it’s so important to have these specially trained advocates to build confidence in those who have suffered abuse.”
Members of the LGBT community themselves, the 19 “advocates” will be working with police to raise awareness and understanding of issues relating to alternative sexual preferences as well as training officers to understand “the impact of LGBT hate crime”, local media reports.
UK: Huge Rise in Knifepoint Rapes, Fatal Stabbings While Police Focus on ‘Hate Crime’ https://t.co/94QbsNMvXR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 9, 2018
Describing the partnership as “incredibly important”, Federation North East representative Louise Evan-Wong said: “Across the country, many of those who do report a hate crime of this nature feel that professionals they spoke to did not have a good grasp of LGBT issues.
“This funding from Northumbria PCC and Awards4All will see that those who have suffered abuse in the North East can have their voices heard by professionals who will understand the full impact of their experience.”
Despite the UK seeing large increases in serious crime, forces across the country have focused on driving up the number of so-called hate crime reports since the government launched an ‘action plan’ which defines success as maximising the number of ‘hate’ complaints.
Since a 2015 report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) recommended police officers spend more time “socialising in known LGB&T venues and community ‘hubs’” in order to increase confidence amongst the gay community, forces have taken a variety of measures to signal their support for LGBT people and practices.
Several constabularies across the UK have introduced LGBT ‘pride’-themed police vehicles adorned with rainbow colours and motifs, while other forces have shown their commitment to sexual minorities by ditching “gendered” items of clothing from the uniform list.