Following a spate of vicious late night attacks in and around St James Street targeting members of the LGBT+ communities – the Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum cancelled their scheduled AGM to have an emergency public meeting to allow people to ask questions of the police.
THE meeting held on Wednesday, April 10 in the Phil Starr Pavilion on Victoria Gardens was attended by Chief Inspector Andy Bennett, Police Sergeant Karen Osborne, and Partnership Manager Karon Chamberlain.
Chief Inspector Bennett acknowledged there were clearly communication issues between the police and the LGBT+ communities at present and these were being addressed. He also said that police patrols on St James Street would be increased.
Chris Gull, Chair of the Rainbow Fund, said: “It is clear to us that cuts in public services have left the police force underfunded, under resourced, and unable to provide presence at all times in all areas.
“To help prevent these attacks, and to keep our LGBT+ safe spaces safe, The Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum and The Rainbow Hub have created, The Community Safety Guardian Scheme funded with a grant from the Rainbow Fund.”
From tonight, (Monday, April 12) in addition to the regular security door staff at venues in the area, and police drive-bys, there will be two licensed Security Guardians paid for with an emergency grant from the Rainbow Fund, patrolling the St James Street area nightly between 10pm and 4am ahead of the coming busy Easter Weekend.
For this shift, the Security Guardians will be based at The Rainbow Hub at 93 St James Street, so that it can be a safe refuge if anybody does experience any incident, and enable constant surveillance of live CCTV cameras in the area.
The Community Safety Guardians will be in constant radio contact with other security personnel, the police, and be part of the city-wide Crime Reduction Partnership, but most importantly they will be on constant foot patrol in St James Street providing reassurance to both local residents and tourists.
Billie Lewis, the elected chair of the LGBT Community Safety Forum added: “The violent nature of some of these recent attacks is of great concern. We are calling for volunteers from the LGBT+ communities to come forward and be trained as Community Safety Guardians.
“Training to qualify for an SIA licence will be provided free of charge, and will allow successful candidates to obtain paid work within security roles outside of the Guardian scheme. To apply, please write to email@example.com.”
This fast, and evolving, response has been made possible by an emergency grant from The Brighton Rainbow Fund, and commitment from The Rainbow Hub in St James Street. Over the coming days LGBT+ venues in the area will be canvassed by the LGBT Community Safety Forum to support the creation of this scheme.
For more information about the Brighton & Hove, LGBT Community Safety Forum, click here: