Gwent Police launch LGBTQ+ community group in Caerphilly
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CSO Rhiannon Collins and the team at Bedwas police station are leading a new LGBTQ+ engagement group in Caerphilly and hope to create a safe, inclusive space in which people can talk openly about their community.
The group aims to provide a safe space for local LGBTQ+ people, allies and the community to learn, share and provide support for the LGBTQ+ community in Gwent.
The inaugural meeting, held at Coffi Vista, Caerphilly, on Wednesday 13 October, saw residents, police officers and councillors join one another in sharing their thoughts on public safety, community cohesion and inclusivity.
Inspector Gavin Clifton said:
"We’re committed to dealing with and preventing crimes experienced by LGBT+ people, including crimes targeted towards people as a result of hatred or hostility towards a personal characteristic.
“It's also vital we understand both the concerns and experiences of our communities – so that we ensure our services are inclusive and everyone feels confident in coming to us and speaking up when there’s a problem.
"That's why our CSOs play such a vital role. Engagement events like these, where we speak to and listen to the public, give us a good understanding of local concerns.
“We’re proud to have hosted our first get-together, and hope more and more people feel confident in coming along, talking with us and meeting new people.”
The sessions are set to be held monthly, with the next meeting due on Wednesday 10 November.
Councillor Jamie Pritchard, deputy leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, visited the session and said: “I’d like to thank all those who worked to put on the engagement event and to Martin at Coffi Vista for hosting. I look forward to coming along again in the future.”
Councillor Shayne Cook added: “I would also like to thank all those who worked so hard to put on this wonderful event which prompted a safe space for everyone to come along and chat, engage and receive support if required.”
The introduction of the community hub follows the recent launch of an all-Wales LGBT+ police network, where staff and officers from Gwent, South Wales, Dyfed and North Wales work in partnership with police and crime commissioners to ensure that the policies, practices and facilities of police services in Wales are supportive of LGBT+ officers, staff and volunteers.