Reaching out to the LGBT community in Herts

From left to right: Surat-Shaan Knan, The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls, Pete Mercer, Jane Fae, Sergeant Steve Alison, DI Jason Thorne, Alex Kohnert, Clive Duffy and PC Mark Smith.
From left to right: Surat-Shaan Knan, The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls, Pete Mercer, Jane Fae, Sergeant Steve Alison, DI Jason Thorne, Alex Kohnert, Clive Duffy and PC Mark Smith.

Key people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) world spoke about current issues affecting the community during a conference at Herts Police headquarters.

Among the speakers were the Dean of St Albans Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John; feminist and journalist Jane Fae and trans and faith campaigner Surat-Shaan Knan.

The meeting in Welwyn Garden City was attended by more than 50 of the force’s Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers (LAGLOs), plus officers and staff who are likely to work with, are part of, or have an interest in the LGBT community. Hate crime, the young LGBT community, gender transitioning and supporting victims were just some of the topics covered on the day.

The force also screened a short film called Valuing Difference for the first time, after it was shot to demonstrate the force’s approach to supporting the needs of LGBT communities throughout the county and within the force.

The film will be used in the training of new police officer recruits and staff.

The force’s lead for sexual orientation, Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls, said: “It is vital that the constabulary fully represents the communities it serves and has a good understanding of the issues facing them.

“We hope that the film will leave a lasting impression both in and outside the force of the constabulary’s commitment to supporting the needs and understanding the issues 
affecting our LGBT community.”

The force is committed to stamping out discrimination while building and maintaining good working relationships with all of the county’s diverse communities.

It is hoped that every single person – no matter what their background or circumstances – will feel they can approach the police in times of need and be taken seriously.