Police Scotland and the Equality Network are to work together to train more than 60 officers to help prevent hate crime faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
The Equality Network, Scotland’s national LGBTI equality charity, will deliver a training programme for police at locations around the country that will help Police Scotland support victims of hate crime, and increase public confidence in police.
Once they have completed the training, police officers will become part of a new network of LGBTI Liaison Officers who can be contacted by members of the LGBTI community. The officers will also be able to help and advise their colleagues across Police Scotland on LGBTI issues.
As part of a coordinated programme of work, the Equality Network will also provide training for Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service staff, while LGBT Youth Scotland will roll out a programme across schools in Scotland to support children and teachers to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
These initiatives are part of the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership which brings together 35 LGBT organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland, and is being delivered on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and led by the LGBT Consortium.
Superintendent Jim Baird of Police Scotland’s Safer Communities Department said: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland. We are delighted to have worked with the Equality Network. Research and studies show hate crime against the LGBTI community is often under reported. We hope that these specially trained officers will encourage more LGBTI people to come forward with the confidence in Police Scotland to help reverse this trend.”
Supt Baird added: “If anyone feels they have been the victim of, or witness to, a crime which is motivated by malice or ill will because of sexual orientation or gender identity they should report it to us directly, online or through a Third Party Reporting site.
“We take all such reports very seriously and will conduct thorough investigations to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Scott Cuthbertson of the Equality Network added: “We know too many LGBTI people are the victims of hate crime, but we also know that many, for whatever reason, still do not report hate crimes. We want to change that.
“That’s why we are pleased to be working so closely with Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and other criminal justice agencies to provide training on LGBTI issues and to work together to remove the barriers to reporting a hate crime.”
More information on hate crime and how to report it can be found on the Police Scotland website http://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/