New role to work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities

16 Feb 2015 13:49 PM

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Northumbria Police is reinforcing its commitment to putting victims first and has developed a new role to work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

The work of the LGB&T Liaison Officers with LGB&T communities is to increase engagement, trust and confidence to encourage victims of homophobic and transphobic crimes to come forward, and it supports the work of the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird who set up an advisory group dedicated to LGB&T needs on her election in 2012.

Liaison officers will work closely with LGB&T communities across the force to gain a greater understanding of the needs and issues that affect them to ensure the force delivers a service to LGB&T communities.

The role will provide a vital link between LGB&T communities, groups and venues to promote awareness of their issues as well as offering advice, guidance and information to police officers and staff in order to provide a greater understanding of LGB&T community needs to provide a better service to these communities.

Victims of crime who believe they have been targeted because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are victims of a hate crime - as part of this drive to promote better understanding, officers will be visiting shopping centres, local businesses, universities and community groups taking the message ‘being you is not a crime – targeting you is’.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Coleman said: "We know victims of a hate crime can feel apprehensive about reporting it to police and that homophobic and transphobic crimes are under-reported.

"We want to make sure we're working with LGB&T communities to identify what the issues they face are and what can be done to overcome this so that people have the confidence and reassurance they need to come forward.

"LGB&T Liaison Officers will be working with LGB&T communities to gain a greater understanding of what police and other agencies can do to increase trust and confidence and ensure a victim-led approach."

The Commissioner Vera Baird said: "I'm pleased that Northumbria Police has dedicated LGB&T Liaison Officers who are continuing to work with communities to ensure they have greater confidence in the force.

"When I was elected in 2012, I set up an advisory group dedicated to LGB&T needs and we enjoy frank and open discussions where members tell me what Northumbria Police is doing well and what could be improved.

"These new roles within Northumbria Police will further support the work I'm doing to ensure we continue to have an excellent relationship."

To find out who the LGB&T Liaison Officer is in your area visit the Northumbria Police website

Northumbria Police has been recognised as one of the top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain. The force was ranked 85th in the 2015 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index - the first time the force has been ranked in the top 100.

The Workplace Equality Index is an effective way to measure organisations efforts to tackling discrimination and creating an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Organisations participating are actively demonstrating commitment to sexual orientation equality. 

View the full news release