PCC shows support for LGBT History Month
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne and the police are supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) History Month as part of a continued countywide campaign to reduce hate crime.
February marks the annual LGBT History Month; a particular focus this year is being placed on Peace, Activism and Reconciliation. With ongoing training and the Diversity team in Sussex Police, officers engage with LGBTQ+ communities all year round and have been recognised by Stonewall as one of the top 100 inclusive workplaces.
The PCC’s award-winning ‘No Place for Hate’ campaign was launched in 2016 to raise awareness of the five strands of hate crime - race, sexual orientation, faith, disability and gender identity.
As part of this ongoing campaign the Office of the PCC held an LGBTQ+ focus group in Brighton last week to hear constructive ideas and suggestions on how Sussex Police could further improve their engagement with this community. It is no secret that across the country LGBTQ+ communities have not always felt supported by their police forces and so, with a focus on reconciliation, this year it was encouraging to note just how far the Force in Sussex have come.
Mrs Bourne comments, “Sussex Police have been recognised by Stonewall as a leading equal opportunities employer and provide diversity training to officers and staff. I was heartened to hear the participants in our focus group say that this has all contributed to more confidence in reporting hate crime -
“I would report hate crime straight away and encourage others to do the same. I know I would get the response if I reported that I’d expect.”
“The Force also has a successful legacy of policing Brighton Pride which is welcomed by our diverse communities here in Sussex. A member of the trans community emotively explained how she feels marching alongside the Police’s Diversity team, saying:
“I find it very emotional to march in the Pride parade with Sussex Police. I feel the warmth coming from the public back to the police and it is almost overwhelming.”
Force Diversity Manager Dermot Torney said: "The Police provide a service for everyone in our communities, and to operate effectively we need to ensure that all people have trust and confidence in us. The LGBT advisory group, is a collective of independent, public spirited individuals who selflessly give up their time to improve policing for everyone; they advise on our policies and our style of engagement; and they help keep policing connected with the concerns and experiences of the people we serve”
PCC says: "The richness and diversity of our communities here in Sussex is one of our greatest strengths and the police have done some fantastic work both internally and externally with the public to promote diversity and inclusivity.
"My message is simple: Hate crime is absolutely not tolerated in Sussex and I would urge anyone who feels they may have been a victim to report it."
Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency,101 in a non-emergency or report online https://sussex.police.uk/contact-us/report-online/