Homophobic attacks have continued to fall in Londonderry, according to figures released today.

The Northern Ireland city has seen a decrease in attacks on the gay community over the last three years.

A report by the institute of Conflict Resolution commissioned by the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland found a significant reduction of attacks in Derry compared to the provinces.

Figures show that around 75 homophobic incidents were reported in the Foyle District Command Unit area between April 2004 and March 2005. This went down to 48 the next year. There has been a decrease over the last three calendar quarters from 15 to 12 to 10.

Chief Inspector Milton Kerr credited the fall as a benefit of partnership between gay group the Rainbow Project and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, he told the Belfast Telegraph, “Confidence in reporting incidents to police has also increased substantially and the success of the partnership has been praised

He added, “While the number of incidents has dropped significantly, we cannot be complacent.

“There continues to be a need for people in this city to respect each other regardless of class, creed, race, or sexual orientation.”

Sean Morrin, of the Rainbow Project, said: “The decrease in incidents comes at a time when there has been an increase in other parts of Northern Ireland and shows that the protocol is working.”