HOMOPHOBIC hate crime has increased in Hampshire, figures show.
The county saw 424 crimes in 2017-2018. Just five years ago there were 143 reports.
An officer who chairs a police LGBT group said the crime was still under-reported.
Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan tweeted about the figures and said: ‘Hate crime is a sobering reality check for our city and why Pride is so important for Portsmouth.’
The Guardian reported the figures after two actors were attacked in a homophobic incident in Southampton.
Portsmouth resident and Portsmouth Pride trustee Aaren James-Martin said: ‘LGBTQ+ people need to feel safe and protected from harm and I believe education and exposure to diversity will provide a medium for tolerance and acceptance.
‘I have experienced homophobia all throughout my life, and still up to this day. It impacts me less now than what it used to and I feel that is because I have been conditioned to accept this as a norm.
‘Despite this, I see the detrimental impact it has on my friends and the young people I work with through Portsmouth Pride.’
Inspector Scott Johnson, co-chair on the LGBT Resource Group for Hampshire Constabulary said the force has specially-trained officers and it supports a number of LGBT initiatives in Hampshire.
He said: ‘For many years we have worked hard to build strong links with LGBTQ communities within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and as a result of that continuous work, a level of trust has been established which has seen more and more people having the confidence to report hate crimes to us.
‘While the number of homophobic and trans hate crimes being reported to us has increased, we expect a significant portion of the increase to be attributable to more people feeling confident to report such incidents to us rather than solely reflecting an increase in the number of crimes.
‘Sexual orientation and gender hate crimes are still notoriously under reported and the increase in the number of reports we have received in the last five years shows our engagement strategy is working.‘
Portsmouth Pride is on June 22 at 11am on Castle Field in Southsea.