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Police hope 'rainbow hate crime cars' will 'give confidence' to LGBT community
23 August 2021, 07:03 | Updated: 23 August 2021, 08:27
Police have faced criticism for painting rainbows on the side of their squad cars in a bid to beat online hate crimes and 'give confidence' to the LGBT+ community.
Forces have brought in the “hate crime cars” hoping they will encourage people to report incidents such as offensive social media comments.
However, critics have said that forces should instead focus on policing “real” issues such as knife crime and rape, with the latest figures showing poor prosecution rates.
Deputy chief constable Julie Cooke said: "Cars are there in the communities on normal policing patrol just to show the community that we want you to come forward...
"It is there to try and give confidence to our LGBT+ community, but also to other under-represented groups."
DCC Cooke, who works at Cheshire Police, added that the “cars are there in the communities on normal policing patrol just to show the community that we want you to come forward... It is there to try and give confidence to our LGBT+ community, but also to other under-represented groups”.
She said that the “cost is quite minimal”, but the impact is “huge”.
Ms Cooke, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) lead on LGBT issues, released a video on its Instagram account explaining why police have rainbow vehicles.
A spokesman for the NPCC said that they did not have figures on how many had been painted as forces operate independently and it is up to individual forces how many cars they want to convert.
Former police officer and founder of campaign group Fair Cop, Harry Miller, told the Telegraph: 'We don't see the Met with special cars for knife crime, even though the number of stabbings in London is appalling.
"The problem is that the second that you see a rainbow car, you know that it is a police force that has made its mind up about some very contentious issues.
"You no longer see a police car or a police officer who is there to support everyone, from all political persuasions, without fear or favour.
"They have literally tied their colours to the mast and painted their cars with their political leanings."