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Senior Bexley police officer plays down rise in homophobic hate crime - but urges victims to report incidents

PUBLISHED: 17:32 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:32 08 February 2017

Bexleyheath police station, Arnsberg Way, Bexleyheath

Bexleyheath police station, Arnsberg Way, Bexleyheath

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Chief superintendent Stuart Bell took over as borough commander three months ago

Victims of homophobic hate crime are still afraid to come forward to police, despite a rise in reports, a London politician has claimed.

In the 12 months between January 2016 and this year, 26 hate crimes were reported in the borough - 11 more than the previous 12 months.

Labour London Assembly member Fiona Twycross said some crimes were going unheard: “There is overwhelming evidence that hate crimes, particularly those committed against the LGBT+ community, are woefully under-reported.”

Bexley’s senior police officer, Stuart Bell, has played down the figures, and assured the public officers around the borough are doing their best to support the LGBT+ community.

The borough commander said: “Our annual figures are published from April to April each year, currently we have 18 since April last year, so it’s likely we will post an increase compared to last year.

“We bring around a quarter of accused people to justice, that’s above our conviction rate for other crime - so we do try to find those who committed the crime.”

Bexley has two Met Police officers who work with LGBT+ community, meeting every victim of hate crime, and offering them support.

Chief Supt Bell is keen to tackle the problem.

He added: “We will do whatever the victims wish to do; if they want to report a hate crime but don’t want to pursue it for whatever reason, we’d still rather they report it, otherwise we can’t get a picture of what is going on in the borough.

“We can’t direct area resources properly unless we know what the full picture is.”

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