Police investigate homophobic crime reporting fears

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Surrey Police has commissioned the support and training charity EACH (Educational Action Challenging Homophobia) to conduct a comprehensive investigation into why residents of Surrey, particularly women, rarely report homophobic incidents to them.

EACH will seek the views of Surrey residents and service users, leading to a report that will highlight the relevant issues, make recommendations to assist Surrey Police’s understanding of homophobia and contribute to subsequent police practice.

This will lead to the production of a protocol which aims to ensure that anyone who has been the target of such a crime feels more confident in reporting it to Surrey Police.

Deputy Chief Constable Brian Moore believes Surrey Police enjoys a positive reputation with the majority of its public, he said: “This is because we care a lot about the service we provide and we want to make sure everyone – particularly those people who are victimised simply because of who they are – receives the very best service we can give them.

“Not all police officers and support staff know enough about the issues that can affect gay people, so we welcome the help of EACH in ensuring that our knowledge and procedures match our intention to be effective in helping gay victims of crime and being trusted by them,” added Mr Moore.

Detective Superintendent Brian Boxall is pleased Surrey Police has invited EACH to undertake this research. “EACH has an exemplary reputation as an organisation that works constructively with the police service through its training programmes and Homophobic Incident Reporting Services. They understand the reticence many lesbian, gay or bisexual people feel about engaging with the police. We are determined to improve confidence in reporting by anyone who lives, works or travels through our county,” he said.