Home Secretary Theresa May says she fears too many people are still frightened to report homophobic crime, during a visit to Brighton’s AIDS memorial.
Mrs May was in Brighton on Friday to meet with LGBT community leaders and Sussex Police.
Her visit was hosted by Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, and included a meeting with Katy Bourne, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex.
The Home Secretary also met Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, the Sussex Police commander for Brighton and Hove.
In an interview with ITV News Meridian, Mrs May praised the city over its efforts to strengthen hate crime reporting – but said more needed to be done at a national level.
“What I fear is that there will still be people who are frightened to come forward to report when they have been the victims of hate crime,” the senior Tory MP said she wanted people to feel “confident enough to know that when they come forward the police will deal with their cases appropriately.”
Mrs May added: “And I think here in Brighton they have been doing work on that.”
Figures released in December last year 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 noted 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.