Chris Cooke , the community campaigner active for many years in the St James's Street area, has died following a fire at his flat. The fire is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed, police confirmed. No-one else was injured. He had chaired the residents' association at Essex Place and was also the LGBT representative for the city's equalities and inclusion partnership. We do not moderate comments, but we expect readers to adhere to certain rules in the interests of open and accountable debate.
It has taken far too long to have a recording mechanism in place to establish this and a mechanism that people can have confidence in. First British Gay Pride Rally. Same-sex marriage by territory. Subscribe now. Keep track Cris everything you watch; tell your friends.
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However, all is not well in Kemp Town. What was particularly upsetting was that the same happened to the victim 10 years previously. Has anything improved over the last decade?
LGBT people felt that they received a different, inferior service from the police and this was one of the main reasons they were reluctant to report homophobic crime, they felt it would not be taken seriously. With the introduction of dedicated LGBT police roles in a process of starting to build confidence commenced. No performance indicators were ever agreed and put in place. Too much information is anecdotal and that is not good for developing trust and confidence.
Apart from the community led Count Me In Survey there is no sound data for decision making and planning. We should be talking about a five year strategy to identify the level of under reporting within the community, agreeing performance indicators with the police and deciding what will be a good measure of success. Nothing too ambitious just small steady steps.
If so why and what would it mean? Many LGBT business men have invested in the area over the years bringing jobs and eco- nomic wealth to the area and yet successive political administrations have neglected the area generally. Let us not forget that in the last 10 years two former Labour councillors from Queens Park ward were leaders of the city council and two of the present councillors are senior members within the Green Party. You would have thought this would have been an incentive to improve and invest in the area, but sadly this has not been the case.
That is not a political point I am making, it is a fact of life. It has been suggested that Kemp Town has become something of a gay ghetto. Would you agree? Just ask the people who own the gay businesses in the area and not just the bars.
They are all finding it hard to survive. The reasons are varied. Safety is just one of a range of complex issues that is making LGBT people think twice about coming into the village to socialise, but it is an important factor. In other cities like Liverpool they have desig- nated a specific area of the centre of the city as the Gay Village. There are small discreet rainbow flags painted on the street signs.
As LGBT people invest the area has improved generally. It is not about ghettoising the area it is about improving the area. This only happens when the politicians work with community leaders and not against them.
Well paid jobs are few and far between, flat rental prices are high as are the deposits that go with them. For young people community safety is just one of a range of issues that they have to deal with. How would you reassure an year-old LGBT person wanting to move to Brighton that it was a safe place to live?
I would make sure that they also understood that they had to look after their safety and be aware of the levels of homophobic attacks in the city.
No one should be complacent. It has taken far too long to have a recording mechanism in place to establish this and a mechanism that people can have confidence in. It would be useful to see the statistics for the rest of the city.
This information should be made public and be readily available. Unless the victim insists on the incident being recorded as homophobic it just slips through. Residents have generally disengaged not only with their local councillors but with their local areas in general. Pride in the community has to be fought for by residents whether it be funding for Brighton in Bloom or funding for the variety of Food Festivals which bring so much revenue into the city. Councillors have to understand their role is to serve the community and not the other way around, which is happening in some quarters presently.
The local councillors are having difficulty hearing the message and that is unfortunate. In fact they are in denial to the fact. Do the police take homophobia as seriously as other hate crimes such as racism? CC: In my experience the police take hate crime seriously.
CC: Brighton has always been a very tolerant city and sometimes I think we all take things for granted. The number of times a gay friend says to me I have lived in Brighton a long time and never had a bad experience and then the next day I read in the Argus of another homophobic attack on an LGBT person.
The fundamental problem here is that we have no baseline statistics for measuring trust and confidence in the police and council. This is a piece of work that should have been produced years ago. Each year the survey can be repeated to see if trust and confidence in the police and council is rising or falling. Getting a feel for what that baseline level is is crucial to future success and creating a strategy for success. Ten years after spending 1. That is just not good enough. Like us on Facebook.
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Chris Cooke is said to have made unfounded claims about Mr Farron's personal conduct after being suspended from the party. Mr Farron had come under intense scrutiny for his Anglican faith during the election campaign after he was repeatedly asked if he considered gay sex to be a sin. But it has now emerged that disquiet over Mr Farron's views on social issues such as same-sex marriage was already felt within the party before the end of the election campaign. She screen-grabbed the tweet and her local constituency party complained to the local Lib Dems.
A Liberal Democrats spokesman said: "While subject of disciplinary proceedings within the party, Mr Cooke made wildly defamatory allegations. The investigation against Mr Cooke continues. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.
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