SINCE their launch Gwent Police’s team of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison officers have seen the number of reported homophobic hate crimes go up.

The14LGBTliaison officers were launched last December in the first project of its kind in Wales which aimed to provide support to people who were victims of hate crime in Gwent because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Nowa year on,Gwentpolice has seen thenumberofhomophobic hate crimes reported rise from35 during the period December 2009 to November 2010 to 40 between December 2010 until November 2011.

The number of transphobic hate crimes reported between December 2010 and November 2011 was four compared to none reported between December 2009 and November 2010.

The officers have also supported 23 victims of hate crime during the past year, providing information and support throughout the investigation, attending court with victims where needed and directing victims to support agencies.

Detective Sergeant Wendy Keepin, who is one of the liaison officers, said it is hoped more officers will be trained up in the future. She said: “It is about meeting people’s specific needs and letting them know they do not have to suffer in silence.”