Royston police officer takes pride in representing LGBT community and promoting equality

Michael Hardiman

Michael Hardiman - Credit: Lynn Brooks

A Royston police officer has spoken of the hard work he has put in as lesbian and gay liaison officer to represent the LGBT community in tackling homophobia and ensuring issues are dealt with in the correct way.

PC Mike Hardiman helps promote understanding and awareness of the discrimination sometimes faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

He said: “I was aware from my personal experiences that sometimes gay people can feel underrepresented in the police force, or feel that their specific situation won’t be understood by the average police officer.

“I thought I may be able to help bridge a gap and, on occasion, be able to assist colleagues when dealing with sensitive matters.

“As a lesbian and gay liaison officer, I really enjoy becoming a point of contact or reference to colleagues and to the community, especially as I have a better understanding of their individual needs.

“I think it’s an important role which is worth the constabulary investing in.

“There is a large LGBT community in Hertfordshire, making up a considerable proportion of the ‘customers’ we serve which deserves to be a represented group with dedicated officers able to deal with their issues.

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“I understand how some members of the LGBT community may feel anxious about approaching the police for assistance, but I would say there is no need to at all. The Herts force is diverse and strives for equality.

“LGBT people should be rest assured that whatever the report or request, they will be listened to, taken seriously and dealt with dignity and respect.”

The 80 lesbian and gay liaison officers in the force aim to provide additional support and understanding to the LGBT community, and advise and support fellow police officers dealing with homophobic incidents.

Pride month – celebrated each year to honour the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan, runs throughout June. The annual Pride Festival starts in London next Friday, June 10, and a Herts Pride event is planned for September in Hemel Hempstead.