Statement on LGBT+ hate crime in Liverpool city centre
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Firstly my sympathies go to the victims of these abhorrent attacks. Merseyside is such a wonderful, diverse region and it is devastating to hear people have been subjected to such appalling incidents while out enjoying Liverpool’s fantastic night life.
“The recent spate of homophobic attacks go against everything we stand for in this region and will not be tolerated. The outpouring of shock and horror on social media highlights the dismay people across the region feel at these incidents and shows this is not the city we know and love.
“The police have been clear in their response. Arrests were made quickly and those who have committed offences will face justice. High-visibility patrols have also been increased in key areas and officers are engaging with businesses and members of the public to listen to concerns and take action.
“I have been in close communication with the Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, as well as other leaders including the Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, and our community and voluntary partners including the LCR Pride Foundation, over the last couple of weeks to discuss what more can be done and how we can work together to make our public spaces safer. I joined officers and representatives from our night time economy on a walkabout last week to inform this work and a high-level strategic meeting is due to take place tomorrow to discuss next steps.
“I am also working with LCR Pride, independent charity Stop Hate UK and some of our fantastic local hate crime support services, including the Anthony Walker Foundation and Citizens Advice Liverpool, to raise awareness of these issues and provide vital support for victims. It is crucial we continue to listen to the LGBT+ community to understand how we can improve their safety and respond to their concerns.
“I am already in the process of arranging additional training with Stop Hate UK for bars, clubs and restaurants in the city centre so they know what to do if a hate crime takes place. We will also be promoting Stop Hate UK’s 24/7 helpline and reporting app, as well as the support available for victims in key areas across the city. My team also joined the mobile police station to talk to people about how to report a hate crime.
“Long-term, education is key; we must promote diversity, equality and inclusivity to young people of all ages in our schools, colleges and universities. This cannot be a one-off campaign, it must be embedded generation after generation if we are to truly change mindsets. There is some great work going on already, but we need sustainable long-term funding and support from Government if we are to make long-lasting change and this is something I will work with our local MPs to lobby for.
“I would urge anyone who has seen or experienced a hate crime to speak out. It is vital this inexcusable behaviour is called out in order that those responsible can be brought to justice.
“You can contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre or call on 101.
“If, for any reason, you do not wish to the report to the police, I commission independent charity Stop Hate UK to run a 24/7 confidential helpline for all victims of hate crime on 0800 138 1625 or www.stophateuk.org. You can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
“Across Merseyside, we also have a number of third party reporting centres including fire stations, citizen’s advice bureaus, libraries, and hospitals. A full list of locations can be viewed on my website or look out for a ‘red hand’ logo.
“Information and advice, as well as a directory of support services is available at www.VictimCareMerseyside.org and specialist support for victims of LGBT+ hate crime is available from Citizens Advice Liverpool. They can be contacted at [email protected] or by calling 0151 522 1400 ext. 5006.
“Let me reiterate; everybody is welcome here. Violence, bigotry, and hatred are not.”