World Cup star coming to Milton Keynes to help fight homophobia

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A World Cup-winning gay icon will be helping to fight against hate crime in Milton Keynes tomorrow.

Rugby player Ben Cohen will join Thames Valley Police officers at an information stand promoting the message of community cohesion in relation to hate crime at thecentre:mk between 10am-4pm on Saturday (February 28).

The force’s LAGLOs (lesbian and gay liaison officers), who are dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) communities, will host the event at thecentre:mk between 10am and 4pm.

The event will also encourage LGB&T members to report any incidents of concern, be it crime or bullying, particularly as February is Gay History Month, since hate crimes generally are under-reported, particularly in relation to disability, transphobia and domestic violence-related incidents from hard-to-reach communities.

A LAGLO is a police officer or member of police staff who has specialist training in, and a specific understanding of, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. This expert knowledge and understanding offers a critical additional resource not only to Thames Valley Police but also lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) communities and individuals.

Since retiring from professional rugby in 2011, Ben Cohen has dedicated much of his time to tackling homophobic bullying among young people through his StandUP Foundation.

Milton Keynes LAGLO PC Darren Nicholls said: “To have Ben Cohen coming along to support Thames Valley Police’s LAGLO officers at our stand is a real coup and will help raise awareness of LGBT communities and the fact that hate crimes generally are under-reported.

“To do this during Gay History Month means we can really make an impact and get the message out there.”