MEMBERS of Huddersfield’s gay community can report crimes to police at a bar.
And in a move to give lesbian, gay and transgender people the confidence to come forward the officers who will take details of the incidents or talk about any policing issues will also be gay
The drop-in sessions will be between 5pm and 8pm on the first Wednesday of every month at the New Union Bar on Union Bank Yard off New Street in Huddersfield town centre
The move follows a survey carried out at last year’s Pink Picnic in Huddersfield which revealed there was nowhere for gay people to report incidents directly to a gay or lesbian members of police staff.
Insp Nicola Gibson, from Kirklees Police, has been involved in setting up the drop-in points.
She said: “We will always take on board people’s concerns and have listened to what has been said.
“We already have hate crime reporting centres across West Yorkshire, but there isn’t always instant face-to-face contact with the police.
“The hate crime reporting centres are not necessarily staffed by an officer, but these drop-in points enable us to provide that face-to-face contact and with a lesbian or gay member of staff.
“As a result of the Pink Picnic survey gay and lesbian police staff will be available every Wednesday at this location to discuss any issues which are raised.”
The police have liaised with support groups such as Huddersfield Gay Group Hugg, Kirklees Council diversity officers and the Gay Police Association.
Insp Gibson added: “I think this is the most practical support we can offer as people can report a crime or simply speak to us for advice and support.
“Our staff can also answer questions on police recruitment or discuss any other issues.
“The aim of this drop-in service is primarily about reassurance, community engagement and being empathetic to the needs of this community.
“Officers in Kirklees are committed to engaging with all communities and responding to different needs of different individuals.
“It’s important to make it personal by having this first point of contact and a comfortable situation to be able to engage with the police.
“It also encourages people to be able to voice their concerns.
“This community does not appear in pockets within West Yorkshire; it is spread across the whole region.
“We have acknowledged and recognised this in providing these drop-in points in our neighbourhoods.
“We will continue to monitor its success and adapt to the needs of others in the community.’’