HAMPSHIRE Constabulary’s support service for the LGBT+ communities has been renamed as it marks its 25th anniversary.

The LAGLO team will now be known as LGBT+ Link Officers to better reflect the work they do with victims of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Founded in 1996, the service was one of the first of its kind in the country and the role has largely remained unchanged.

Police officers and staff who volunteer to join the scheme undergo additional training around LGBT+ issues and their role is to build trust, confidence and engagement with the police in these communities.

The force currently has around 90 LGBT+ Link Officers, many of whom are themselves part of the LGBT+ communities or who consider themselves allies.

The work they carry out ranges from supporting victims and witnesses of crimes and incidents involving the LGBT+ communities to advising colleagues and promoting an understanding within force of LGBT+ issues.

Their community engagement work also sees LGBT+ Link Officers representing Hampshire Constabulary at pride events across both counties, with the specially designed police car being a regular fixture in previous years.

Acting chief inspector, Scott Johnson is co-chair of the LGBT+ Resource Group. He said: “As one of the very first British police forces to have a LGBT+ liaison scheme, this event will mark 25 years of this work and how it has evolved, both in terms of the service delivered to communities and how our organisation has changed to support our LGBT+ colleagues. It is also a time to reflect on current and future challenges and how we work with partners to meet the needs of future LGBT+ communities and ensure they have trust and confidence in the police.”

The renaming announcement and 25th anniversary celebrations – delayed from last year due to the pandemic – coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on May 17.

The date marking IDAHOBIT was originally selected to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases from the World Health Organisation on May 17, 1990.

One of the key roles of the LGBT+ Link Officers is to encourage the reporting of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes along with domestic abuse and sexual violence.

These could be physical attacks, threats or verbal and online abuse.

To find out more go to hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/hco/hate-crime/