VICTIMS of hate crime were stunned when police told them not to go out alone and gave them panic alarms after they were subject to vicious homophobic attacks.
Tristan Gillet and Bradley Hunt have hit out at Warwickshire Police saying not enough was being done to combat hate crime targeted at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT).
Both have been victims of numerous attacks, with 21-year-old Tristan recently assaulted in Kenilworth’s Abbey Fields. He was left with two black eyes, a bloody nose and paramedics had to be called. Two men are currently on bail following the attack.
But the shop worker from Kenilworth says the advice he received from police was ‘less than helpful’.
He told the Observer: “I am disgusted with the police, they are not doing enough. All they said to me was I should not go out of the house alone. I have been attacked before and they did nothing.”
Leamington resident Bradley Hunt says he has been attacked several times in the town – including being spat at and kicked.
The 25-year-old former X Factor contestant was once given a panic alarm by police and says after experiencing hate crime across the country more needed to be done to tackle the growing problem.
Warwickshire Police say it is committed to tackling hate crime after figures showed the number of reported crimes against members of the LGBT community in the county had rocked in recent years. In 2013 there were 24 reported crimes, but last year the figure soared to 94 – reflecting a rise nationally.
Supt Mike Smith told the Observer: “Warwickshire is a diverse place to live and the majority of people embrace this diversity. We are committed to playing our part in ensuring the county is a safe place to live, work and visit for everyone.
“There are a small number who victimise people because of who they are – this is wrong and we are committed to addressing it.
“It is disappointing the victims in these incidents felt they did not receive the high standard of service we aim for and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to them about their experience and address their concerns.
“Like the rest of the country, recorded hate crimes have gone up in Warwickshire in recent years. We have done a huge amount of work to give victims the confidence to come forward.
“We welcome the increase in reporting but we are aware that behind each of these offences there is someone being targeted because of who they are. We will take action against anyone who thinks this is acceptable behaviour.”
Founder of Warwickshire Pride Daniel Browne said attacks were commonplace, with recent incidents including a transgender person having their windows smashed and an LGBT charity trustee who also has learning disabilities attacked in a McDonalds.
Daniel has also been targeted, with threatening messages sent to the Warwickshire Pride Facebook account, which he said had been taken seriously and were being investigated by Warwickshire Police.
He told the Observer: “I think the police do take hate crime seriously, although there do seem to be inconsistencies in the service that victims receive. They are generally very helpful though and only by people reporting hate crime can something be done to tackle it.”
The issue recently hit national headlines when two women were savagely beaten in a late night attack on a London bus after refusing to kiss in front of a group of men.