Homophobic crime still a problem in London

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PinkNews.co.uk Investigation

The Metropolitan Police are today hailing London as a safer place to live with figures revealing an overall fall in crime, including an overall reduction in reported homophobic attacks.

The release of figures describing incidents in the 12 months up to July 2006 claim that crime is falling across the capital.

However, a PinkNews.co.uk investigation can today reveal that homophobic attacks have actually increased by over a quarter in some inner city areas and by up to 100% in the suburbs.

Homophobic crime figures have increased in boroughs with a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population such as Tower Hamlets (18.2%), Islington (18.5%), Kensington and Chelsea (24%), and Hackney (32.4%).

There were 66 attacks in Tower Hamlets last year compared to 78 in the recent figures.

Hackney saw incidents rise from 68 to 90, Kensington and Chelsea figures rose from 25 to 31 and in Islington there were 109 compared to 92 in the previous July 2005 figures.

Further out of the centre of London paints an even less positive picture, with homophobic attacks increasing by 38% (from 26 to 36) in Ealing, 66.7% (9-15) in Harrow, 83.3% (12-22) in Hillingdon and up 100% (7-14) in Redbridge.

However, homophobic crime did fall in Lambeth, the borough where gay barman Jody Dobrowski was murdered.

Southwark, Camden and Westminster, where the LGBT community also has a visible presence, also reported reduced reports of homophobic crime.

Home Office research indicates that homophobic crime is seriously under reported across all police boroughs.

Traditionally gay people were wary of the police and in response the Met have created dedicated gay liaison officers in many areas and launched schemes to try to encourage LGBT people to report crimes against them.