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Rise in homophobic hate crime in West Yorkshire

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There has been a rise in homophobic hate crime figures in West Yorkshire, with police figures showing 160 such cases recorded in the seven months to July 31.

The annual totals for the same crime were 148 in 2013 and 152 in 2014.

The rise has been put down to the fact that more victims are “now more willing to come forward.”

Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey and a past victim of hate crime, he had been knocked out in a 1998 street attack due to his sexuality and it had “a fairly profound effect” on him.

He said during his lifetime social acceptance had “completely changed” but it was still “awful” for the victims of such crimes.

Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “Tackling hate crime continues to be a priority.

“Training has been delivered to officers and we want to continue to do all we can to increase confidence in reporting of hate crime.

“Feedback and evidence suggests that victims are now more willing to come forward.”

Michael Rothwell, landlord of the Viaduct pub in Leeds, said: “People have confidence in West Yorkshire Police to report it [hate crime]. Back in the day I don’t think you did.

“Young people now do report it to the police straight away and the police investigate it.”

Stonewall, a group campaigning for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Britain, said: “While it is encouraging that the increase may be due to LGBT people having increased confidence in the police, the fact that LGBT people experience such high levels of hate crime is extremely worrying.

“It shows how much there is for us to do before everyone is free to be themselves, wherever they live.”

To find out how Lester Morrill’s specialist public order offences solicitors in Leeds, Yorkshire and the North of England can help you, please contact us.