Sussex Police are considering making Gaydar another official line of communication between themselves and the LGBT community.
The move comes as officers report that the Gaydar initiative, a pilot scheme aiming to make it easy for people to report hate crime online, has been a success.
“I’m thrilled at the response to the idea,” PCSO Sarah Stanbridge, Brighton LGBT Community Liaison Officer told PinkNews.co.uk “Since we launched the idea in August we’ve had a huge increase in hate crime reporting from all sections of the community.
“I’m proud that people who would usually suffer in silence are using our Gaydar sites to get in touch. Within a month of the service being available, we had even completely solved one crime online.”
One of the strengths of the service is that people can report anonymously but still be contacted by police using a screen name. Police report that this is especially useful for ‘sensitive’ crimes that usually go unreported, for example robbery by a prostitute.
Other people in the gay community are using the instant message facility to gain advice, raise concerns or to enquire about recruitment. Sarah is keen to point out, however, that the police are not using Gaydar to monitor messages or chat rooms. The service is in place purely as a tool for communication between user and the LGBT unit.
“From the point of view of Sussex Police, the power of Gaydar has really been proven to us,” Sarah added. “We’re always looking for ways to improve hate crime reporting and look forward to Gaydar being used to everyone’s advantage in the future.”
Making the Gaydar scheme official would ensure all of Sussex Police know about the initiative. Currently, the idea is localised for the Brighton and Hove Division but when official, links to police Gaydar profiles could be added to the Sussex Police website.
“We’re very excited about the success of the Brighton Police Gaydar profiles,” Paul Trickey, from Gaydar parent company Q Soft told PinkNews.co.uk “We’re proud that Gaydar has been used to facilitate an increase in hate crime reporting. Now, we’re looking forward to expanding the service to other police forces around the country.”
The Metropolitan Police have six dedicated LGBT officers, who have already been given Gaydar profiles by Q Soft as part of their expansion.
Brighton Police gaydar profiles have been set up as www.gaydar.co.uk/villagepolicing and www.gaydargirls.com/villagepolicing