Gwent Police train officers to fight homophobic crime
A tranche of police officers are being trained to deal with crimes against people who face discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Gwent Police have trained 14 officers and support staff as part of its first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) liaison service.
It is hoped it will encourage more people to come forward to report LGB&T hate crimes.
One senior officer said such crimes were traditionally "under reported".
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Prince said: "It is estimated that one in 12 people in [the] Gwent [force area] classes him or herself as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender which is a significant number of people.
"We hope that the introduction of LGB&T liaison officers will encourage members of the community to report hate crimes which are traditionally under reported.
"If we can encourage greater reporting it will enable us to gain a greater understanding of hate crime and the extent to which people are suffering but also to better enable us to tackle it."
Any victim of such a hate crime will be offered the assistance of one of the liaison officers alongside the investigating officer.
Their main duties include:
- Liaison with the LGB&T communities
- Provide support and advice to victims and witnesses of crimes
- Offer advice to colleagues dealing with homophobic incidents
- Promote an understanding within the force about the needs of LGB&T communities
The posts were open to all officers and police staff and was not limited to those who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Officers receive two days of training from colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary which has had LGB&T liaison officers since 1996.