Sussex Police have come up with a new way of communicating with the gay community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison officers in the city have created profiles on the Gaydarwebsite as a way for people to report hate crime or obtain advice.

The account will be regularly checked and managed by officers on the Kemp Town policing team.

The initiative is part of a police plan to make it as easy as possible for the LGBT community to communicate with the police in a simple and welcoming way.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Sarah Stanbridge, the LGBT community policing officer, said: "We are always trying to think of new ways to encourage the LGBT community to report incidents to us, using methods which are familiar, simple and welcoming.

"Gaydar is a good way of communicating and making friends.

"I have been monitoring and dealing with specific questions that have come on to the site.

"We get messages which range from police recruitment queries to people reporting harassment by neighbours or homophobic abuse. We had one person who saw us on Gaydar and then came down to the police station.

"Gaydar is available 24 hours a day and there is a support system there which has been running and monitored for five weeks.

"Gaydar has given us free membership for a year because they think it is such a good idea. We have had quite a number of hits.

"We hope this initiative will give members of Gaydar an alternative way to get police advice and make initial contact when wanting to report hate-related incidents."

The Kemp Town team includes four PCSOs, a sergeant and three police constables. PCSO Stanbridge monitors the site with LGBT liaison officer Lisa Timerick.

PCSO Stanbridge said: "We are going to try to link the profiles with the True Vision packs - which people can pick up from pubs, clubs, banks or the police station - to anonymously report crime."

Torsten Hojer, from 3Sixty magazine, said: "We think it is a great idea. We are impressed with the police and the links they have initiated to improve communication between themselves and the LGBT community.

"We have heard from a lot of people who say they have been victims of hate crime but have not reported it. Now the police have developed this initiative, people can reach out to them more easily."

The profile names set up are and