West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner reassure the LGBT Community (26 Jul 2016)

West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner held a meeting in Leeds last night (25/07) to support the LGBT community following recent local, national and international events.

The aim of the meeting was to reassure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that there is no place in West Yorkshire for hatred and intolerance.

The event was arranged in partnership by West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, and Leeds LGB&T* Hub.

The meeting gave the opportunity for the LGBT community to talk about what matters to them; Key issues included communication and listening, consistency in response from the police and other services and trust and confidence.

A minutes silence was also held in remembrance of the Orlando nightclub shooting in June where 49 people tragically lost their lives.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said "I know that events both locally and around the world have impacted on people feeling safe and it's extremely important that we move quickly, in partnership, to reassure our communities, but this is not just about what the police can do, I want to see all partners working together to support LGBT communities.

"Our message is simple, there is no place in West Yorkshire for hate or homophobia and it will not be tolerated. I understand some people may be hesitant but I encourage anyone affected by hate crime or hate incidents to come forward and report it and know that if they do, every report will be taken seriously, putting appropriate support in place for any victims."

Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams of West Yorkshire Police said: "Across West Yorkshire, we have worked really hard over the last year or so, to raise awareness of hate crimes and hate incidents by using our 'Hate Hurts' campaign. We have seen increases in reporting, which we are really pleased and reassured about.

"West Yorkshire Police encourage everyone - whether they are a victim or witness of a hate crime or a hate incident, to report it to us straightaway.  We take all reports of hate very seriously and we will not tolerate it," she said. 

Councillor James Lewis, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and LGB&T* Champion said "This event demonstrates our commitment to re-doubling our efforts on making Leeds an LGB&T* friendly city after the tragedy in Orlando. It is crucial that when combating hate crime and incidents of hate, partners across the city come together to do just that. The LGB&T* community heard that the West Yorkshire Police are working tirelessly to reduce and eliminate hate crime across the city, but it is important that we do not become complacent on this agenda.

"The LGB&T* Hub will continue to work with others to ensure that the LGB&T* community in Leeds is safe and secure, and has the confidence to work closely with our partners in West Yorkshire Police."

Nik Adams, Regional Prevent and Protect and Prepare Coordinator said:
'Last night's event was about listening to the concerns of the LGBT communities in West Yorkshire and reassuring them about the work we have been doing to keep them safe.
'We have done a great deal of training with the door staff and licensees of local pubs and clubs about how to spot suspicious behaviour and how to respond to incidents of concern.
'The most effective way to keep our communities safe is to report incidents of hate, intolerance and extremism.  By working together we can identify individuals of concern and intervene early. This could be by disrupting extremist speakers and denying them a platform, or through working with partners, such as Mental Health professionals, to address issues of vulnerability before they have an opportunity to escalate.'

Incidents can be reported via the West Yorkshire Police website below, which also contains links to partner organisations http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime or via 101.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019