A message for the LGBT+ community in the wake of the Reading stabbings – the police are here for you

We cannot speculate on the motive behind these crimes, but the investigation is moving at speed

Julie Cooke
Friday 26 June 2020 20:40 BST
Silence held outside school where victim of Reading attack worked

The brutal murders of three men who were enjoying a sunny day with friends in a Reading park was horrifying to us all.

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this and I know local police and other agencies are ensuring everyone has the support they need.

We cannot speculate on the motive behind these awful crimes, and we must not do or say anything to prejudice the investigation, which I can assure you is moving at speed.

But I know from speaking to many of you and hearing from our LGBT+ police officers and staff that this horrific incident in Forbury Gardens has caused a great deal of sadness and anxiety.

For individuals or communities who may be concerned, I want to reassure you that from enquiries so far, officers have found nothing to suggest that there were any other people involved in the attack. At the moment police are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident and there is nothing specific to suggest anyone attending crowded places is at risk. There is also nothing to suggest particular communities are at risk.

I would encourage everyone to continue going about daily life, celebrating Pride month and meeting up with long-missed family and friends. We should be alert, not alarmed. If you see or hear something unusual or suspicious, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting it in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or, in an emergency, dial 999.

If you want to learn more about how we can all contribute to keeping the UK safe from terrorism, there is a free online training package devised by experts from Counter Terrorism Police, which can be found by searching “ACT Awareness eLearning” online.

I also want to share a specific message to the LGBT+ community.

Pride normally gives the opportunity for LGBT+ people and allies to come together, to celebrate being themselves, meet up with friends and show their support for each other, but this year it will be very different.

There are a number of virtual Prides in many parts of the country and this reinforces the need to continue to look out for each other and care for each other.

It is a sad reality that even in 2020 Britain, LGBT+ people still suffer abuse and are victims of hate crime. It is important that if you are the victim of a crime because of who you are that you report it to the police.

We are here to help you, will investigate as far as possible and will direct you to relevant support services. Our officers are highly trained, will treat everyone with respect and dignity and handle cases sensitively.

Enjoy this year’s Price celebrations and stay safe.

Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for LGBT+

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