Officers from Suffolk Constabulary went on the march with their colleagues from Avon and Somerset Police recently to help police one of the biggest events of the year.
Representatives from the Norfolk and Suffolk Gay Police Association and Suffolk’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) link officers were among the thousands who joined Bristol’s Pride Parade on Saturday July 11 in celebration of the city’s LGBT communities.
This year’s event was hailed by organisers as the ‘biggest yet’ and included a free festival in Bristol’s Castle Park with live music.
Officers from Suffolk Constabulary were approached to assist and support the occasion alongside officers from other forces.
“Our role was to form part of the parade and to engage with the public,” said Suffolk Police Constable PC Luke Heffer, a Norfolk and Suffolk Gay Police Association representative and LGBT Link Officer who took part in the parade.
“We know that individuals from LGBT communities are more likely to be victims of crime because of their sexuality and are less likely to report it, so it was an ideal opportunity to advise people about hate crime and to encourage the reporting of such incidents to police.
“We wanted to get the message across that homophobic and transphobic hate crimes will not be tolerated and that the police will do everything they can to bring offenders to justice.”
Luke and the team also offered crime prevention and safety advice.
Suffolk Constabulary has a team of dedicated officers trained to speak to members of the LGBT community in relation to homophobic and hate crime incidents and to provide confidential advice. Their role includes enhancing the relationship between the police and LGBT communities in an effort to boost public trust and confidence.
If anyone is in need of advice from one of these specially trained officers, please call 101 or email LGBTLinkOfficer@suffolk.pnn.police.uk
PC Heffer added: “It was a privilege to be part of the pride parade and festival. There was a fantastic atmosphere with a great turn out and all visitors were pleased to see and engage with the police.
“We have also received lots of great feedback on Twitter under #policewithpride.
“On 25 July, representatives from Suffolk will also be supporting Norwich Pride and later this year they will also assist colleagues at Sussex and Greater Manchester Police to police the Brighton and Manchester Pride Parades.”