OII Australia provides GLLO training to NSW Police

NSW Police Force GLLO (Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers) badge.

OII Australia provided training to Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLO) of the NSW Police Force on Thursday 12th November.

This was the first time NSW police – or any Australian police so far as it is known – have been addressed by an intersex person on intersex issues.

Although the current acronym used by GLLO in NSW is GLBT, I am assured that it will be GLBTI by the time we do the next round of training. For now please take the information provided to GLLO officers as provisional as it will soon include reference to intersex.

I was interested to hear the police perspective on identity, incarceration and search in respect to people who do not fit expectations of fitting in with the sex binary, dyadic sex. I understand I was speaking to the more aware and sensitive officers in these matters, nonetheless the police attitude was encouraging and they were courteous, curious and sensitive. More engagement at this level can only result in better outcomes when police come into contact with intersex.

I was also made aware of the limitations of the somewhat antiquated police records keeping system, COPS. Matters concerning this system will be taken up by OII Australia at a later date.

Many thanks to Officer Jacki Braw for thinking of intersex and approaching OII for training and information to pass on to all GLLO police officers in NSW.

The GLLO statement provided by NSW Police follows.

THE NSW POLICE FORCE IS COMMITTED TO THE GAY, LESBIAN AND TRANSGENDER COMMUNITIES BY:

  • Increasing reporting and reducing the incidence of violence, crime and harassment and fear of violence within these communities.
  • Ensuring the provision of high quality, professional policing services.
  • Building and maintaining effective partnerships.
  • Ensuring a supportive workplace for gay, lesbian and transgender employees and those performing gay and lesbian liaison duties.

Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers are police officers located throughout the state who are specially trained to address gay and lesbian issues. The GLLO Program is central to the NSW Police Force’s response to anti-gay/lesbian violence. GLLOs assist gay men and lesbians in their local area with matters including anti-gay/lesbian violence, harassment and domestic violence. GLLOs consult with gay and lesbian community groups to foster confidence in the NSW Police Force and encourage reporting of homophobic violence and crimes.

GLLOs also assist in developing and implementing local and corporate initiatives to reduce and prevent anti-gay/lesbian violence and are responsible for improving the understanding of fellow officers about gay and lesbian issues.

The Senior Programs Officer (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues) co-ordinates the GLLO Program, and other gay, lesbian and transgender policies and initiatives. This key advisory position develops initiatives and policies to improve safety, reduce anti-gay/lesbian/transgender crime, and ensure high-level liaison between gay, lesbian and transgender communities. It also supports operational officers in Local Area Commands, including GLLOs. This position has been present within the NSW Police Force, in various guises, since 1990.

The first GLLOs commenced at four Sydney stations in 1990. Today there are more than 100 GLLOs throughout the State.

GLLOs:

  • Complete specialist training focusing on gay and lesbian issues in a law enforcement context;
  • are sensitive to the law enforcement and safety needs of gay men and lesbians, and the disproportionate level of violence perpetrated against the gay and lesbian community;
  • attend significant gay and lesbian events to promote visibility and the GLLO role; and
  • proactively challenge homophobic attitudes which may lead to violence in the community.

The NSW Police Force was a pioneer in the world of gay and lesbian liaison and exemplifies good practice in serving the gay and lesbian community. NSW Police has provided advice, assistance and training on issues of gay and lesbian liaison for police jurisdictions at a national and international level. The NSW Police Force aims to continually improve its service to the gay and lesbian community through:

  • The design of and conducting training on a variety of gay and lesbian issues, including violence prevention;
  • consultation and liaison with gay and lesbian community groups, organisations, media and community leaders such as the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby;
  • work with government agencies to develop whole-of-government responses to homophobic violence and other issues facing the gay and lesbian community; and
  • the collection and analysis of data on hate crimes, particularly gay hate murders.

MARDI GRAS PARTICIPATION

Police participate in Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival to show the continuing commitment of NSW Police to preventing violence against the gay and lesbian community and improving understanding between police and the gay and lesbian community.

GENERAL SAFETY HINTS

Strategies you can use to help keep yourself safe:

  • Be aware of your surroundings – stay alert for homophobic signals or comments.
  • Walk in groups of 2 or more where possible.
  • Know trouble spots in your area, such as certain pubs/venues that are known to be homophobic.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation doesn’t feel right, immediately do everything you can to get yourself to safety.
  • At night, catch a cab where possible.
  • Where possible, park your car in a busy, well-lit area.
  • Carry a personal alarm or whistle.
  • Have your keys ready before you get home or to your car.

Strategies you can use to help make your community safer:

  • Report all homophobic incidents to the police and/or the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project.
  • Inform venue/event managers if you see any homophobic violence in or around their venues.
  • Meet with your local GLLO and keep them informed about local issues.

CONTACT

Phone 000 in an emergency.

Interpreters are available TTY: (02) 9211 3776.

To ask for your local Police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Officer: 02 9281 0000.

Senior Programs Officer (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues), Police HQ (Mon-Fri): 02 8835 8180.

Lesbian & Gay Anti Violence Project: 02 9206 2116, (Free call 1800 063 060).

Police Assistance Line: 131 444.

Police website: www.police.nsw.gov.au

Related links:

One Comment

Angela Erde

This is a very welcome development. Past experience with numerous state and federal authorities and their officers have made me extremely wary when dealing with them. I have so often been made to feel like an outlaw in this world, an unwanted alien at best, in these situations.

Then I was the victim of a stalker online and offline and an accompanying attempt at identity theft. Fearing for my life, I contacted the local NSW Police GLLO, warily I must admit but with the encouragement of a friend who had my best interests at heart.

I was warmly received by the GLLO and she proceeded to tell me a story of a friend of hers from some years back who was intersex. Tragically, her friend is no longer with us. My own friend had contacted the GLLO in connection with another woman who now is no longer with us.

For the very first time ever, I felt as if an authority figure recognized I existed and might even understand what intersex people live with. That GLLO has my gratitude to this day.

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