PC Andy Ricketts, the police LGBT Liaison Officer for Westminster has forwarded us the following leaflet (copied below at the end of this post) that is going to be handed out by the Metropolitan Police Service at World Pride.
It contains some sensible advice about staying safe at World Pride 2012 that we should share.
Having worked with Andy and a number of other police LGBT Liaison Officers over the past 22 years – a lot of work has been done to change attitudes and improve relations between the LGBT communities and the police, a lot of progress has been made although admittedly there is still much more work that needs to be done – but things have and are improving.
17-24-30 exists to raise awareness of hate crime and to help sign-post the services and support that is available. As an independent small charity organisation run entirely by volunteers, we will work with the Police and other local authorities, local businesses and community organisations to help promote better relations, community safety and community development.
The bombing of the Admiral Duncan in April 1999 was our Stonewall event, despite being one of the most horrific attacks on our community it helped to change the social and political landscape so that a lot of progress could be made. I mention it here because I think that it is important that we remember what happened, what can still happen, and that it reminds us that we need to be vigilant and work together to look after ourselves and our communities.
It is up to everyone who attends Pride to work together with the police and other local authorities to ensure that our Pride and other events remain safe. If you see or hear things that cause you concern then flag them up – in an emergency dial 999, otherwise if your unsure use the non-emergency number 101.
Speak to door staff – most of the Soho businesses have signed up and are part of a radio network scheme that has been set up in preparation for the London Olympics. Working together local businesses are doing their best to keep you safe so be understanding when they are carrying out bag checks or asking you to wait a moment whilst they control the number of people on their premises.
Out on the street it is worth noting that Soho has one of the best digital CCTV systems in London, so if people come down to the area to make trouble then no doubt they will be quickly spotted and identified. The number for the CCTV control room is actually posted on most lamp-posts throughout the area so you can flag things up to them directly as well.
People have been expressing concerns about crowd safety, especially in and around Soho after the march. Speaking to one of my Pride London contacts, it appears that the reason why the march was moved to the earlier time slot was to ensure that there will be enough police on duty to manage things safely. The Police usually change over their shifts between 11am to 1pm, so there will be plenty of police officers about and their intention is to police World Pride as they have done in previous years.
At the same time organisations like the London LGBT Advisory Group (which exists to promote better policing for LGBT people in London) are in discussion with the Metropolitan Police to ensure that the communities concerns about the policing of this event are flagged up beforehand and managed appropriately on the day. They will also review how the event goes and address any issues that arise.
If you’re not comfortable talking or reporting to the police then there are other non-police organisations in London that you can contact like GALOP – who provide an independent, totally free, confidential service that exists to provide advice and support to those who have experienced hate crime.
Stop Hate UK is a national anti-hate crime organisation. Both run a help-line service and can assist with third-party reporting (which is when people want to report via them rather than directly to the police – and this can be anonymous too).
The London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard, staffed entirely by volunteers is also an excellent source of information – so if your new to London, need someone to talk too then give them a call 0300 330 0630 (10am to 11pm daily).
It is worth noting that Pride events have a reputation for being quite safe and peaceful events, with some incidents taking place but usually less than the figures reported elsewhere.
So be vigilant, look out for each other, and have a safe, proud and happy pride.
Leaflet issued by Met Police (Below)
Welcome to World Pride London 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is once again proud to be a part of this event and we would like to offer some simple safety advice to ensure you have a great day.
London is one of the safest major cities in the world, but crime can happen:
Take care of all personal belongings. Keep mobile phones, cameras, wallets, purses and bags secure and within sight at all times.
- Pickpockets are active in very crowded areas. Carry bags and rucksacks to the front with all zips securely fastened.
- Never leave bags or rucksacks unattended as these can lead to security alerts.
- Be aware of “hugging muggers” these are people who have that drunk look about them, and fall against you as if you are their friend – but they are pick pocketing you at the same time.
- If you lose any personal property whilst at the Pride event please report this in person at a police station. You will be issued with a report which you should retain.
- If you do become the victim of crime, you should report the matter to Police. In an emergency dial 999 – Give clear information to the operator of where you are and what has happened. This will enable help to reach you more quickly. You should use this number if you require urgent medical assistance too.
- If the matter is not urgent then you should attend a police station or report the matter to a police officer or dial 101.
- Remember you are more vulnerable to being a victim of crime if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you are with friends/family ensure you have a method of staying together or finding each other should you become separated. Consider agreeing a meeting point at the start of the day with check in times.
- Work out how you are going to get home after the event and try to travel in pairs or a group.
Enjoy your day. Stay safe and please report all crime to us. The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to tackling homophobic and transphobic hate crime. Don’t tolerate it. Report it. Stop it!
If you live in London and would like to speak to a local LGBT Liaison Officer please visit: http://www.met.police.uk/contacts/lgbt.htm for further details.