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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Police implement new initiative to tackle hate crime (UK)

Police in Brighton and Hove have launched their annual operation to tackle hate crime against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community over the summer.

The city's gay community is thought to include about 35,000 people, with that number increasing during the warmer months as tourists flock to the coast. Some of these arew often the target of serious phobic offences, such as theft or assault.
Sussex Police decided to address this some years ago by creating Operation Reagan, which has been so successful that it has been copied by other police forces across the country. It compliments their year round work with patrolling in locations such as Kemp Town and measures to bring offenders to justice. It runs alongside an operation to prevent foreign students being targeted by similar groups of offenders.

Police figures show an encouraging tend since it was first introduced with an 8% drop in the number of incidents reported, from 251 in April 2008 - March 2009 to 230 in the past 12 months.

Nick Antjoule, Brighton and Hove police LGBT liaison officer said: "Summer is when the city comes to life for many residents. Our aim is to create an environment where people can enjoy being out in Brighton without living in fear.
"Operation Reagan was first set up to deal with incidents in a small area but now encompasses the whole city. Over the years its been a vital tool in preventing offenders from targeting vulnerable people. We can do this most effectively with the support of the public. Every report is important and helps us work with the community to keep the city safe."

Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard have also launched an independent hate crime information, support and reporting service on 01273 204050. Their trained call takers give a listening ear, explore the different options, and can pass reports to the police on your behalf, either with your details or anonymously. They are separate from the police and do not give the police information unless the caller wants them to.

You can talk to the police directly to tell them about something you saw or experienced on 0845 60 70 999, or in an emergency 999. For advice and support you can also contact Nick Antjoule on 07799 347114 or email 'LGBT@sussex.pnn.police.uk'.