Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A visit from Surrey Police


On Sunday November 30th we had a visit from Jo, Michelle and Carol.

And here they are:

Carol, Jo and Michelle:P1080828

Jo works with Surrey Police and her role there includes that of a LAGLO, There’s some additional info about Surrey Police LAGLOs on Facebook here which mentions:

Surrey Police LAGLOs (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers) are specially trained officers with an interest in helping the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

Surrey Police has a team of LAGLO officers covering the Surrey policing area. There are currently a total of 18 officers who have specialist knowledge and training surrounding the LGBT community and their issues.
LAGLO’s work closely with the LGBT community and can provide advice, support and assistance to victims and witnesses affected by homophobic incidents and crimes.

Michelle also works with Surrey Police. Carol works with New Patch which mentions:

Here at New Patch we pride ourselves in providing an all-encompassing legal and professional consultancy service, ‘hand crafted’ to the individual needs of our clients.

Providing sound advice and assistance on a varied number of matters, we like to think that we ‘fill the space’ between the Citizens Advice Bureau and a traditional solicitors office thus in real terms we could have easily been called ‘The Gap’ (unfortunately some large clothing outfit got there before us)!

We believe it is not so much ‘what we know’ but more so the unique and individual way in which we deliver that knowledge.

Do you need us to hold your hand? Would you like us to point you in the right direction? Have you been directed to us? Whatever your circumstances we are here to help and are delighted to be able to do so

Jo talked about the kind of work that she and the LAGLO team at Surrey Police do and answered a range of questions that people had.

There was one question regarding the use of conveniences / toilets / restrooms in public areas. We were told that by law transgender people have the right to use the toilets associated with the gender in which they present themselves. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there will never be objections raised by other people about this. But the law doesn’t have a problem with it. There’s a story here that illustrates the kind of problem a person might face. But that this specific case is seen as a hate crime by the police force concerned.

Jo also talked about the kind of specialist training that LAGLOs undertake and mentioned that all police officers receive training in diversity. She was clear that everyone, including transgender people has the right to expect the police to give them a fair service. But also realistic in that there are times and places when this hasn’t happened.

The diversity training isn’t only relevant to hate crime, but is also relevant in dealing with transgender people in general. Jo also mentioned that whenever police officers are dealing with transgender people they are able to liaise with LAGLOs whenever that helps.

Current levels of hate crime generally, and trans-phobic hate crime in particular in Surrey are low. However it is believed that a lot goes unreported. Jo mentioned that it is possible to report hate crime anonymously and mentioned that this can be really helpful to the police force in helping them identify areas where they can be of most help and service.

Jo said that as with all crimes, there are various degrees of hate crime. But that legally speaking, pretty much anything (words or deeds) that caused offence to a transgender person and related to the expression of their gender would be considered to be a hate crime.

Everyone that I spoke to found the evening to be very informative and was very appreciative.

Personally, I was left with the feeling and belief that Surrey Police are committed to offering support and protection to the LGBT community and it was a real pleasure to meet Jo, Michelle and Carol

After the meeting, Jo emailed me the following message:

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that it was a pleasure to meet you all last night, thank you for inviting me to speak.

Surrey Police LAGLO Team can be reached on the following number … 01483 630474

Or email us on laglo@surrey.pnn.police.uk

If you use Twitter you can find us… @SurreyBeatLGBT

Or Facebook… Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers

The Surrey Police website has details of how you can report a crime anonymously and for those not living in Surrey I am sure our surrounding Forces have a similar set up, please check the individual websites or contact the Force Diversity Team.

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