Posted on 12th October 2017
Our Safer Neighbourhood officers in Derby are joining forces with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT+) community in holding a hate-crime question time.
The event is being held as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, on Friday, October 20 at The Quad, Derby Market Place, and members of the public are being invited to attend and ask questions of a selected panel.
The occasion is an opportunity to explore the ways agencies can help and support people who experience hate crime based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The panel will consist of the Police and Crime Commissioner and representatives from Derbyshire police, Crown Prosecution Service and Derby City Council.
Sergeant Alex Wood, who leads one of Derby’s Safer Neighbourhood teams, said: “We recognise that hate crimes can be deeply upsetting and frightening. The police treat such incidents seriously and work closely with partner agencies to support victims, prosecute offenders and prevent situations escalating.
“This event is designed to show the public how our organisations can help and to encourage victims to speak about their experiences."
Derbyshire LGBT+ is a charity providing a support service for the LGBT+ community, and are chairing the panel.
Ryan Whittington, manager at Derbyshire LGBT+, said: “We are proud to support this question time event. We believe it is a real opportunity for our community to continue a dialogue with the police force in Derbyshire and a chance to ask questions that people may have had for a long time.
“We hope that the event will encourage LGBT+ people of Derbyshire to turn to the police when they need to as discrimination, prejudice and hate are very real aspects of life for a large number of LGBT+ people, as the people accessing our own service has shown us.”
Panel member, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, said: “It is all too easy to think that the changes in the law over the past 20 years or so, including the right for same sex couples to get married and the move to more positive portrayals of LGBT+ people in mainstream media, mean that everything is better for LGBT+ people.
“On some levels I know that things have improved, but LGBT+ young people are still much more likely to commit suicide; many people still think it is OK to describe someone or something as ‘gay’ to mean it is weak or inferior; and transgender people are still vilified on social and mainstream media.
“My message to victims is simple - to target someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable, and if you have been targeted then I would urge you to come forward and tell the police who will take it seriously.
“My message to perpetrators is equally simple – it isn’t big, clever, or funny and if you are caught, it could lead to a criminal record.”
Councillor Asaf Afzal,cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public protection for Derby City Council, said: “I welcome any event that brings communities from Derby together to talk about such an important issue.
“ As we have seen from recent events in this country and beyond, hate crime takes many forms and the effect on people’s lives can be long-lasting.
“I am in full support of this initiative and I hope that it enables people to work together in their local neighbourhoods for the benefit of everyone.”
The event will run 7pm - 9pm and tickets are available through Derbyshire LGBT+ by contacting 01332 207704 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Places will be limited to 50 persons therefore to ensure your attendance please pre-book.