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Portsmouth police have launched a new operation targeting homophobic abuse.

Following reports of anti-gay abuse around gay and gay-friendly venues in Portsmouth, police responded by deploying officers and dispatched vehicles ready to take action against any form of abuse, even verbal.

The operation was co-ordinated with officers from the Targeted Patrol teams, Safer Neighbourhoods team and Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers and will be repeated in the future.

PC Ryan Cheyne from Southsea police station told “We get many reports from staff and customers of the local venues of people shouting abuse from the back of a passing vehicle. I’m pleased to say that on this occasion there were no incidents of abuse. That doesn’t mean our operation was a waste of time, however, because we conduct them for a number of reasons.

“Primarily, we want to protect our communities by deterring people from committing these sorts of offences in the first place. Verbal abuse is unacceptable. It can be distressing and if we tolerate it, it sends out a message that it’s ok to treat others this way.

“Secondly, we want to reassure LGB&T communities that something can be done about it. We might not always be able to make an arrest there and then, but we can plan operations like this which address the long-term issues.

“Hopefully, people hearing about this operation will encourage them to come forward and report hate crimes and incidents.”

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