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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Homophobic crime reports increase
Homophobic assault appeal board
The force has a specific unit to tackle hate crimes
The number of homophobic attacks in London has risen by more than 10% during the last year.

Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that reported homophobic incidents have risen to 1,536 this year compared with 1,365 in 2002.

A force spokeswoman said the rise showed London's gay communities were more confident about reporting abuse.

She said officers were working with a number of groups to ensure more people felt able to report such crimes.

The force has a specific unit to tackle hate crimes and works with a number of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender groups to ensure attacks are reported and dealt with.

Lauren Marsland, from Victim Support, said: "Over the last 30 years the police have tried very, very hard to change their image and change the message out there that homophobic attacks are a crime."

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