Herts Police fighting against hate crime towards transgender people
PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 December 2016
A Harpenden man has spoken about growing up with gender dysphoria (distress), in the wake of an increase in incidents of transgender motivated hate crime.
Alfie Nikitis, 19, attended an event that Herts Police held in conjunction with Youth Connexions at the force’s headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, organised partly to recognise International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
This aims to remember those who have died due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, and the difficulties the transgender community can face.
A spokeswoman for the police said that as members of the community can be subjected to hate crime, the organisation wanted to speak with local young people to make them aware of services and specialist officers the force has in place to support them, should they ever find themselves a victim of crime.
Alfie - one of nine young people attending the session - spoke about his own experiences of the transitioning process.
He said: “I feel it is so important that young transgender people are aware that the police know of the difficulties we can face, and that we should feel comfortable to approach them without concern.
“Sadly, transgender people can be subjected to hate crime and it’s vital that everyone should know they don’t have to put up with it and should report it if it ever happens to them.”
Between April-November 2015 six incidents of transgender motivated hate crimes were recorded in Herts.
But this figure rocketed over the same period this year, to 21 incidents.
Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls said: “We are aware that growing up can be tough, but it can be even more so for transgender people, who can become targets for bullies. This can develop into adulthood as hate crime in the form of verbal or physical abuse, and sometimes even violent crime.
“As a police force we are committed to tackling this through thorough crime investigation and offering support to victims.”
The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said the force wanted “young people to be confident that police in Herts are and have an understanding of the issues facing them, so they feel comfortable approaching us should the need ever arise.”