Herts Police flying the rainbow flag for greater tolerance
- Credit: Ila Desai
A rainbow flag has been flown from the headquarters of the Herts Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in Harpenden for the first time to highlight the work of lesbian and gay liaison officers.
Herts Police has recently introduced 11 of the force’s specially trained liaison officers who, along with staff countywide, have been specially trained to support people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
PCC David Lloyd said: “Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia still exists in our community and raising the flag at my office shows my support of these groups.
“It is unacceptable for people to be treated unjustly because of who they are or what they believe in. Hate crime often has a devastating effect on victims, witnesses and their families.
“I am pleased to underline the great work of our trained officers who provide round the clock, tailored, practical and emotional support.”
Crimes motivated by homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are classed as hate crimes.
Among those offering support is Pc Mark Smith, who is based within the London Colney safer neighbourhood team and has been one of the force’s lesbian and gay liaison officers (LAGLO) for six years.
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Mark said: “I decided to take on the role of LAGLO as I understand how the LGBT community can be hard to reach, and how some people might be nervous about talking to the police, because they are concerned they might not be taken seriously.
“Every police officer will treat every single member of the community whatever their race, religion, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation with respect and dignity.
“However, as LAGLOs we have been specially trained to fully understand the needs and issues facing the LGBT community, and members of the public who have experienced a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic crime may feel more comfortable talking to us.”
Herts Police raised the rainbow flag at Harpenden police station, as well as at the force’s headquarters in Welwyn, in recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 17.
• The liaison officers can be reached by calling the non-emergency number 101. But in an emergency or if a crime is ongoing, report it immediately via 999. For more information click here.