Saturday , 28 May 2022

Police Officers to receive special hate crime training


Sixty Scottish police officers are being specially trained to help reduce hate crime against the LGBTI community.

The officers will be trained to become LGBTI liaisons for Police Scotland by the Equality Network, which hopes to help establish a network of liaison officers within the police service who can be contacted by LGBTI people who have been the victims of crime or abuse.

It is anticipated that the training programme will increase confidence in Police Scotland and, crucially, encourage more victims of crime to come forward and report their experiences. Hate crime, especially that against LGBTI people, is under-reported and Police Scotland and other agencies have been considering ways to make reporting easier.

Since hate crime legislation was introduced in 2010 the number of charges for sexual orientation aggravated crime has risen significantly, with 841 in 2014-15 according to the Equality Network. The LGBT Hate Crime Partnership estminates that, across the UK, somewhere in the region of 35,000 LGBTI-related hate crimes go unreported every year. Transphobic hate crime is considered to be particularly under-reported.

The Scottish LGBT Report, published last year by the Equality Network, found that around half of LGBT respondents had experienced or witnessed prejudice or discrimination in the last month. 79% reporting to witnessing descrimination within the last year and 97% within their lifetimes.

Superintendent Davie Duncan said: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland. Studies show hate crime against the LGBTI community is often under-reported and we hope these specially-trained officers will encourage more people to come forward to help reverse this trend.”

Scott Cuthbertson, development manager for the Equality Network, said: “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.”

Superintendent Jim Baird said that cracking down on hate crime is ow a priority, and stressed that it should always be reported. He said: “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.”

Fergus McMillan, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland – which is soon to introduce a new anti-bullying initiative in Scottish schools – added: “Verbal abuse and violent crime is still a reality for many LGBTI people. Our recent safety report highlighted that around half of all LGBT respondents would not fell confident reporting a crime to police and only 50% said that they were aware of what their rights are under hate crime legislation.

“We are currently working with a range of partnerss to increase the reporting of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted.”

Not only will the new LGBTI liaison officers provide support to the LGBTI community, they will also be equipped to advise their colleagues on LGBTI issues. The charity will also provide training for staff at the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service.

The initiatives are part of a project from the LGBT Hate Crime Partnership. Established last year and funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the partnership works to increase reporting of LGBT hate crimes and incidents across the UK, as well as to offer support to those targeted.

More information on hate crime and how to report it can be found on the Police Scotland website.

About Andrew Page

Andrew Page
Andrew is KaleidoScot's sports editor and photographer. An experienced blogger, Andrew was raised in the Hebrides and currently lives in Renfrewshire. Andrew became an active equality campaigner at the time of the Section 28 debate, and has particular interests in faith issues and promoting LGBTI equality in sport. Andrew was shortlisted for the Icon Award's 2015 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. Johanna-Alice Cooke

    How far we’ve come!

    Back in 2010 I watched the Equality Network Director (Tim Hopkins) and it’s STA Manager (James Morton) completely blank trans-on-trans transphobia directed at one of their own staff members at one of their own events.

    Now the Equality Network is training police officers about hate crime. Given what I witnessed, I can only feel uneasy at the choice of training partner. One hopes that they have brushed up on their trans-awareness.

    Especially considering the Police’s graphic saying “LGB”. Where is the “TQI+” bit?? We exist too! We get abused and discriminate against too! Why aren’t we included in the publicity here?

    • Andrew Page

      Johanna – we’ve been advised that the graphic, which is Police Scotland campaign material, relates to a previous campaign rather than this one. We’ve since been provided with an image specific for this campaign, and have made the correction.

      Unfortunately we weren’t provided with this new graphic initially – apologies for any confusion and for any offence that may have been inadvertently caused by it.

      We’re certainly not going to comment on the trainers but we recognise that people may have had difficult experiences with various support organisations.

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