The group that advises the London police on LGBT issues is asking members of the community to speak to them about the increase in serious sexual and physical assaults, deaths and overdoses associated with gay venues.

The Metropolitan Police Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Independent Advisory Group has set up an independent review into drugs and alcohol in London.

The advisory group has concerns around these issues and the number of deaths and serious assaults relating to drugs and alcohol.

“We hope the review panel will bring both the good and bad into the open and allow us to find a way to support the community constructively and safely” said Bob Hodgson, Co-Chair of the LGBT AG.

The group is inviting individuals and organisations to give opinions about what is going on, how things can be improved and how the Metropolitan Police can support the LGBT community to work, live and play safely.

During 2006 there were at least four deaths, three sexual assaults and four incidents of grievous bodily harm associated with drug and alcohol use in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Broken Rainbow estimate that 1 in 4 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experience domestic violence during their lives, much of this is related to drug and alcohol use.

The review panel is made up of independent advisory group members and is chaired by Dr Justin Varney, a public health doctor and advisory group member.

“I am really pleased that the AG is tackling this issue head on, this is a positive step towards supporting the community as it parties,” he said.

“There are some serious issues that I hope we can have an honest and frank conversation about with the community such as domestic violence, physical and sexual assault. This is an opportunity for the LGBT community to do some much needed laundry.”

The panel is independent of the Metropolitan Police and has set out a clear statement on ethics so that people can speak freely and confidentially when submitting evidence.

They want people to submit written evidence over the next few months through the website http://www.lgbtag.org.uk/news/drugandalcohol.htm

The panel will make recommendations on the policing and response to drugs and alcohol in the LGBT community in a written report due for completion by December 2007.