The Metropolitan Police Service has launched a crackdown against homophobic crime in a north London borough by patrolling public areas used for sex.

Eighteen crimes against the LGBT community were reported in Redbridge from 2012-2013, a rise which the Met claim is down to increased confidence in the police

PC Anton Brown, an LGBT liaison officer for Redbridge, told the Ilford Recorder: “Thefts, robberies, rape and other violent assaults take place at these locations and victims are scared to report them as they do not want to be ‘outed’. They are often men who have sex with men but don’t necessarily identify as being gay.”

While sex in a public place is illegal, the Met states in most cases police do not make arrests, providing sexual activity is away from public view.

“We approach people loitering, not engaging in sex, unless they are doing it in a very open area or we have received reports from disturbed members of public,” PC Brown added.

“A lot of people deny why they’re there which is tragic, but they do engage with us and listen to our advice, which is good.

“Our ultimate goal is to encourage our LGBT community in Redbridge to have more confidence in the police and to report LGBT crimes in the knowledge they will get investigated properly by specially trained investigators such as myself.”

Last April, statistics from the Metropolitan Police Service showed homophobic crime had fallen across London by 12.7%, from March 2012 to March last year – however, several London boroughs, including Redbridge, recorded a rise. 

Figures released in December by the Home Office showed there had been a fall in the number of homophobic crimes recorded in England and Wales – however reports of transphobic crime had risen.

The Home Office data notes that LGBT hate crimes still remain largely unreported – and this is especially true of crimes against the trans community.

Several LGBT campaign groups have warned that LGBT community confidence in the police has fallen in recent years – explaining for possible reductions in reporting.