Always remember that if the victim or any other person feels that an incident is homophobic or transphobic then the police should treat it as such without needing to be convinced of this. You should expect the police to make a record of the incident and ‘flag’ it as homophobic or transphobic. The police should always provide you with a reference number.
The report should be forwarded to the appropriate police department in the borough where the incident happened. Usually it is the Community Safety Unit who will investigate a hate crime, though sometimes a report will be forwarded to the local LGBT Police Liaison Officer.
If you have provided the police with your contact details they should always contact you and keep you updated on your case, including if they have decided not to take further action.
The officer dealing with the report will then decide how to proceed with the report. The police may ask you to make a formal statement about the incident. They may need to carry out an investigation or make further enquiries into the incident. Any subsequent action will depend on the nature of the incident and will include factors such as evidence, witnesses and so on. The police should keep you informed of any significant developments in the investigation, for example if they arrest the perpetrator.
If the police think that someone should be charged with an offence, they will pass the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will decide if someone will be charged. Their decision is based on whether there is sufficient evidence to charge someone and if this is in the public interest.
If you need further advice or information about reporting or are concerned about the way the police have responded to your report, contact Galop on: 020 7704 2040.