TRUST in the police, and the ability of LGBT crime victims to approach a dedicated liaison officer or officers was a major topic at a meeting in Brighton.

Audience members at the Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum said it can be difficult for LGBT people to report crimes to officers who might not understand the issues they face

One audience member from Gay Elderly Mens Society (Gems) said the numbers of those attending Friday night meetings had dwindled.

He said: “People are getting frightened to come out. Having more police walking up and down would give people greater confidence.”

Meeting chairman Billie Lewis said communication has to improve from the police about action being taken, and how to contact them to report crime.

Police Sergeant Karen Osborne said she is new in her role as a “point of contact” for LGBT issues and said there is a dedicated PCSO in place as well.

She said there have been 131 robberies reported in all of Brighton and Hove in the first three months of the year, and 18 were in the St James’s Street area.

Chief Inspector Andy Bennett said: “We have not got the resources to put officers permanently on the same streets throughout the city. We have to use our resources as effectively as we can.”

He said a key part of that is people reporting crime, so that officers know where victims have been targeted, and said the force will have to improve how it responds to crime reports and to “get it right first time”.

At the same meeting it was claimed 20 people have been targetted by robbers with one critically injured.