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Hate crimes in Manchester’s ‘gay village’ are now so common, the Police say they can’t cope with the number of reports on busy nights.

In August 2017 alone, 85 violent and sexual offences were recorded in the Gay Village. Considering only 10% of LGBT hate crimes are actually reported, the true figure is likely to be far higher.

Now ‘village angels’ are being brought in to try and keep the peace and to look after victims.

The ‘angels’ are based at the new Village Haven centre near Canal Street, which opened its doors earlier this month. It will operate on Friday and Saturday nights between 11.30 pm and 04.30 am.

Halo help: Village Haven ‘angels’ on one of their first shifts in the Village

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, opened the project which was set up by the LGBT Foundation.

The emergency services are apparently unable to deal with extreme drunken behaviour witnessed in the area. Now this new project has been given three years of Police & Crime Commissioner funding.

The project’s angels will care for sozzled partygoers but also help defend the LGBT+ community against a troubling jump in hate crime. Victims are encouraged to use the centre for practical and emotional help.

The merits of the project are clear, but there’s concern that any ‘angels’ are needed in the first place in what has long been one of the world’s most LGBT+ friendly party destinations.

Nationally, hate crime against LGBT+ people is rising fast. In a report released by the Home Office, hate crime was documented to have increased by 19% between 2014-15 to 2015-16. Of those hate crimes recorded, 7,194 of them were related to a person’s sexual orientation.

The Haven has been welcomed by local businesses and regular partygoers but there are concerns that any ‘angels’ are needed at all.

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Cash Boyle

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