Police will do by better by gay and lesbian victims of crime, NSW’s top cop on GLBT issues has vowed while issuing a public apology to two victims.

NSW Police corporate spokeswoman on GLBT issues, Superintendent Donna Adney publicly apologised to bashing victims Greg Harland and Aaron Warnecke for the way Blacktown Police handled their case. She made the apology at the Being Out West forum on homophobic violence.

The pair, who were brutally gay-bashed by men wielding metal poles, made headlines last year after it took Blacktown Police months to take their case seriously.

“I have to apologise to you, Greg and Aaron, on behalf of NSW Police, for the way that you were treated in May last year,” Adney told the crowd, which included Harland.

“It was unacceptable. An appalling response — there is no other way to put it.

“All I can tell you, and everyone here, is that we will endeavour to do better in the future.”

Adney said she had spoken to the superintendent at Blacktown Police about the incident.

She said the number of gay and lesbian liaison officers had grown to 160 statewide and that extensive training was helping improve police sensitivity.

“All police can respond to homophobic crime and violence,” Adney said.

“The customer service program has meant that we’ve been able to train the police in a range of appropriate ways to deal with all victims of crime, and that includes people who are suffering from homophobic crime.”

Adney encouraged people to report incidents of homophobic crime, irrespective of whether they wanted to pursue legal action, to ensure police resources could be effectively deployed.

info: If you have experienced homophobic crime, contact local police, and the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project on 9206 2116 or 1800 063 060 or visit www.acon.org.au/anti-violence for more information.

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