BBC News update: A new liaison office in the police department of Gwent, Wales is forming in order to promote and protect the LGBT community. Fourteen officers and support staff will be trained by colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary, which has had an LGBT liaison office since 1996.
The new service was created in order to encourage more people to come forward to report hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBT community. Unfortunately, the majority of such crimes are “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.”
The new group anticipates that the new office will encourage members of the community to feel free and safe when reporting hate crimes. Each case will be assigned an LGBT liaison as well as an investigator to inspect the incidents. They hope to obtain a better understanding of hate crimes and to observe the suffering of individuals. With the increase in information, the office aims to have novel information that will enable them to engage and exterminate these types of offences in Gwent.
The duties of the officers include: liaison with the LGBT communities; provide support and advice to victims and witnesses of crimes; offer advice to colleagues dealing with homophobic incidents; and promote an understanding within the force about the needs of LGBT communities.
It is a sad fact that throughout the world, there are thousands (probably many thousands) of members in the LGBT community that are harassed and abused as a result of their identity. In virtually every country, there are reports where police forces and investigation teams ignore the complaints, or complaints are not filed because victims do not report the abuse. This specialized task force will offer a safe outlet for casualties to report the verbal and physical assaults that they experience, and it will demonstrate the police force’s commitment to protecting the community.
Additionally, the liaison’s goal of creating a better understanding of LGBT trials and tribulations could be an effective way to educate the community about their unnecessary biases. Instead of having events where trans people are objectified and questioned about extremely personal experiences, which happens in many “seminars,” this data presents the opportunity for activists and the trans community to portray their arguments for equality through human rights discourses. No longer will members of the trans community have to step forward to narrate their life stories and answer intruding questions in order to appeal to their community to accept their humanity. Without revealing much private, privileged information about experiences of gender variant individuals, the force will educate their community about the abuses and violations of personhood. No person should have to objectify their life in order to convince others not to mistreat them.
Moreover, the team hopes to have a working knowledge of hate crimes. In theory, this information could be applied to other crimes of biases against other groups that have been and are subjected to injustices based on their identity.