A new campaign to make Brighton and Hove the UK’s first zero-tolerance city for LGBT hate crime was unveiled today (21 March) by council leader Cllr Bill Randall.
Speaking at the launch of the resurrected LGBT Community Safety Forum, he said renewed efforts to deal with hate crime are needed as attacks on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people persist.
Cllr Randall said: “We cannot call ourselves a civilised city unless we do all we can to stamp out LGBT hate crime. The forum is a new focal point for all those in the powerful partnership engaged on this work, among them the LGBT community, the wider community, the council and the police. Dealing with these pernicious crimes is high on the Green Administration’s agenda, and the council will support the forum in every way possible.
“52 LGBT hate incidents and crimes were recorded by the police in the first nine months of 2011/12. While this is an improvement on the previous year, it is clearly unacceptable in our city and is only part of the picture. We believe many more of these crimes go unreported by the city’s 40,000-strong LGBT community.”
The Count Me In Too research (2006) revealed that only 25% of those people from the LGBT community who had experienced an incident had reported it. One of the forum’s first tasks will be updating the findings of this research.
“We owe a big thank you to LGBT activist Chris Cooke who is largely responsible for reviving the Forum, which will be at the centre of the new campaign,” said Cllr Randall. “Activists and councillors from the LGBT community are among those on the forum’s steering group. They are working closely with the police who will be setting up a dedicated phone line to report LGBT crimes, and I am grateful to the Brighton and Hove Police force for all their efforts to deal with and prevent LGBT hate crime.
“The police LGBT liaison officer is also looking at how training might improve the way the police record LGBT hate crime, particularly in the case of trans hate incidents. I recently met representatives from the trans community who told me about the growing levels of abuse and violence they face. It is one of many areas where we need to do more work.”