Southern Australia is looking to combat hate crimes in the state by introducting Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers.

The move, welcomed by the gay community, will see 16 trained police officers as a point of call for LGBT people who are victims or are worried about hate crimes.

Chief Inspector Martin Jeffrey Bruhn, said it would build trust with the gay community.

He told The Advertiser in Adelaide, “We want to build better confidence within the gay and lesbian community.

“It’s about building trust and confidence. This is the first statewide network.”

Gay activist Ian Purcell has pushed for the network for several years, he told the paper,

“One of the problems that the community has is a fear of reporting hate crimes.

“These crimes of violence, both physical and verbal, are under reported. Basically it means revealing your sexuality. People can feel a lot more secure knowing that the liaison officers have had extensive training in sensitivities around gay and lesbian issues.”

Similar schemes are in operation across the UK.