Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We welcome Police recognition of homophobic crime

Following a Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) statement last week that an alleged homophobic attack had recently occurred in Gibraltar, Equality Rights Group GGR has welcomed the police's public statement.

"Up to a few years ago, GGR worked closely with the RGP, engaging in regular face-to-face meetings with the Commissioner and his team. This was seen as a positive dialogue of benefit to both sides. So much so that GGR created and undertook training sessions regarding sexual minority citizens from the perspective of police awareness for new recruits," Chairman Felix Alvarez commented.

"Following some important allegations of homophobic crime in Gibraltar, the matter was raised with the Commissioner at one of our meetings. However, we were, at the time, surprised by a less than constructive attitude and a refusal to recognise the existence of homophobic crime in Gibraltar. At that point, representatives of GGR broke relations with the RGP, insisting that if recognition that the protection of sexual minority citizens did not feature as a fundamental obligation of the police, there was little value to on-going dialogue. GGR made a public statement to that effect."

"It is therefore with satisfaction that we welcome the RGP's recent explicit recognition of homophobic crime in their latest statement on this matter. The fact that the police are now willilng to call a spade a spade and have departed from what, until now, has always been an exercise in avoidance by categorising homophobic acts of delinquency under wider terminology is both healthy and positive. It is a stepin the right direction towards effective policing and protection of sexual minority citizens in our country."

"We therefore openly welcome the police's new public stance, as it will contribute to not only bettering relations with the RGP, but will also build confidence and trust towards them from individuals, easing thus the freer interchange of information which can only benefit the RGP in carrying out its role more effectively," Mr Alvarez stated.