Police in Brighton have launched their annual summer operation to tackle homophobic hate crime.

The area has a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans population of around 35,000 people, with this number increasing in the summer due to the city’s popularity as a gay tourism hotspot.

In order to tackle offences such as homophobic and transphobic abuse, theft and assault, Sussex Police created Operation Reagan several years ago and say this has led to an eight per cent drop in incidents from 2008.

A similar operation was designed to prevent foreign students being targeted by the same criminals.

Nick Antjoule, Brighton and Hove police LGBT liaison officer said: “Summer is when the city comes to life for many residents. Our aim is to create an environment where people can enjoy being out in Brighton without living in fear.

“Operation Reagan was first set up to deal with incidents in a small area but now encompasses the whole city. Over the years its been a vital tool in preventing offenders from targeting vulnerable people. We can do this most effectively with the support of the public. Every report is important and helps us work with the community to keep the city safe.”

Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard has also launched an independent hate crime information, support and reporting service with trained staff who are able to report crimes to police.

The service is on 01273 204050.