Current Affairs

Dawn raids target gay bashers

PinkNews Staff Writer May 17, 2007
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A series of raids by police across London has led to the arrest of 32 people suspected of a range of hate crimes.

The Metropolitan Police said the operation, which involved over 200 officers, might encourage victims of such crimes to report them.

Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell, of the Met’s Violent Crime Directorate, said:

“Last year we arrested and held to account more hate crime perpetrators than ever.

“We need the help and support of LGBT people and other hate crime victims through the reporting of hate crime incidents, as victims or witnesses, to enable us to identify, arrest, prosecute and take on even more hate crime perpetrators.”

People suspected of domestic and racist were also targeted in the raids.

On Tuesday a report by the independent Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Group (LGBT IAG) found that police detectives investigating murders and violent crimes in the gay community influenced by institutional homophobia.

The report looked at 10 homophobic murders between 1990 and 2002, including five murders by serial killer Colin Ireland.

Four of the cases investigated remain unsolved.

The review found that many investigations were marred by lack of knowledge, reliance on stereotypes and prejudice by police.

It claims that although the situation at Scotland Yard has improved since the 1990s, more still needs to be done.

The report says: “If we borrow the terminology of the Macpherson report, historical police practice amounted to ‘institutional’ homophobia and transphobia.

“There were several investigations where we have deep reservations about the way in which the identity of the victim informed investigative decisions at the time. We also found evidence of inappropriate attitudes to the circumstances of some murders.”

The Macpherson report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1997 labelled the police “institutionally racist” and led to an overhaul of police procedure, including the way ethnic minorities are recruited.

The LGBT IAG suggested that better intelligence is needed to keep track of violent homophobes.

The report advises that the gay community should better warned when police consider certain areas to be dangerous, and that there is a need for more cohesion in the way the police deal with the gay community.

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