LESBIAN, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison officers are being introduced by Gwent Police in the first project of its kind in Wales.

The LGBT officers have been specially trained to provide support to people who have been victims of hate crime in Gwent because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and it is hoped the liaison officers will encourage more people to report this type of crime.

Fourteen officers and staff members from the Gwent force have been trained under the new initiative, and more will be recruited in six months time.

Liaison officers will work alongside investigating officers to give support and advice to victims and witnesses of LGBT hate crime, direct them towards support agencies, and give advice to officers dealing with homophobic incidents.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Prince said: "We hope that the introduction of LGB&T liaison officers will encourage members of the community to report hate crimes which are traditionally under reported."