New measures to encourage members of the gay and lesbian community to report hate crimes have been introduced in Oxford.
Victims of homophobic crimes are being offered more help
Victims of homophobic attacks and abuse will no longer have to report them in person to police officers.
Instead they can approach a third-party to report the incident, the details of which will then be passed onto the police.
It is hoped the new scheme will help to solve the ongoing problem of under-reporting of hate crimes in the Oxford area.
Community and race relations officer PC Derrice Alleyne said: "We're changing what we do to improve the way in which we deal with such offences.
"Each of the 10 Thames Valley Police areas now has its own liaison officer who will be a point of contact on homophobic issues for community representatives, the local authority and health agency.
"This officer will monitor homophobic incidents to ensure victims are dealt with sensitively and sympathetically and will also take responsibility for the quality of our response to such offences."
The scheme is similar to other reporting measures already in place for racist incidents and those involving domestic violence.
Victims of homophobic crime are being encouraged to report incident to Oxford's Homophobia Awareness Liaison Team (HALT) which will then approach the police.
The HALT team consist of representatives of Oxford's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Oxford City Council and officers of Thames Valley Police.