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Surrey Police introduces new LAGLOs
(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Liaison Officers)

Following PC Mike Patey's announcement at this year's IDAHO event that Surrey Police was developing its own LAGLO training program and would be introducing additional LAGLOs to the force, 12 newly trained individuals have now progressed through an inaugural course and joined Surrey 's LAGLO team.

The 12 new members, a mixture of officers and staff from various Surrey Police departments across the county, are now part of an on-going development programme designed to build on initial training and maximise their knowledge and understanding of matters that specifically affect members of the LGB & T population.

Offering consultative and practical support or a dedicated point of contact, a LAGLO's main purpose is to encourage and develop confidence, trust, and open channel's communication with Surrey 's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. A LAGLO champions equality and diversity, promotes knowledge and understanding of the LGB & T population, identifies good practice to colleagues, and can offer support on various issues including hate crime, victim/witness liaison and care, partnership projects and community contact.

To achieve its vision of ‘Safe and Confident Neighbourhoods in Surrey ', Surrey Police recognises it must have the trust, confidence and support of all the communities it serves. It must also strive for an organisation that reflects those communities. The LAGLO program not only supports this vision, but highlights Surrey Police's determination and commitment to developing a service that is truly equitable and fair.

If you would like to make contact with a member of the Surrey Police LAGLO team, you can do so by calling 01483 630474 or e-mailing laglo@surrey.pnn.police.uk

As part of an initiative involving Surrey Police, Surrey Fire & Rescue Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service, the ‘Pride in Partnership' project will deliver elements of Surrey Police's LAGLO training program to selected fire and ambulance staff. As well as broadening the reach of the LAGLO program, the project promotes unity and further encourages equality and fairness.

 

Surrey Police Budget Capping

I need your help, some of you may have heard the news about the cutting back of jobs in Surrey Police, this was sent to me earlier today and a petition has been set up – we need to get as many signatures as possible so please spread the word to all your contact lists, Newsletters, newspapers, friends, face book and so on

From Surrey Police Authority
You may have seen in the news recently that the Government is trying to cut the budget for policing in Surrey this year by £1.6m. This will result in 50 officer & staff jobs being lost, on top of the 144 already being taken out this year. Functions to be hit will include Safer Neighbourhood Teams providing crime prevention advice in local schools, Special Branch, Major Investigations and Roads Policing. We believe that cutting the budget of a top performing police force that is already accepted by the Government as "providing excellent value for money to the taxpayer" makes no sense at all, and is not in the best interests of the people of Surrey.

We have started a petition on the Surrey Police Authority website for local people to register their support for our campaign against these cuts and I was wondering if you would be able to circulate the link to the petition to Gay Surrey subscribers? We've had an amazing response so far - since we launched the petition on Thursday last week, more than 3,100 people have signed up, and more are signing at a rapid rate.

The petition can be found at: www.surreypa.gov.uk/petition.asp

 
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Police and outreach workers team up at Rikers Café, Hogs Back

West Surrey Police's Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officer (LAGLO) will be teaming up with the NHS gay outreach worker and his colleagues this week to publicise their work and highlight a new anonymous hate crime reporting facility on the Surrey Police website ( www.surrey.police.uk ).

The team will be at Rikers Café on the Hogs Back layby (west bound on the A31) on Thursday 26 February between 9-12pm – look out for the gazebo and follow the smell of tea and coffee.

The NHS outreach worker's, have worked with Surrey Police in many capacities and on numerous incidents will be on hand to chat to men at the site and will be encouraging them to approach police officers if they have any issues.

Neighbourhood Sergeant for Ripley, Simon Berger said: “This event is very much a partnership evening and we hope those who visit the site will come and chat to Ian and other officers over a cup of coffee. We want to encourage the reporting of hate crime and we hope that these events will build more trust and confidence amongst the cruising community. Surrey Police has always treated any form of hate crime as a serious offence and it's something we will not tolerate“

 
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Life Imprisonment for killer of Jeff Akers

Dated 12th December 2008

MARK Malone, from Walton-on-Thames, who was found guilty at the Old Bailey last month of the murder of Peter Jeffrey Akers, has today been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum to serve 30 years.

Fifty-year-old ‘Jeff' Akers, from Wallington, South London , died from a single stab wound to the back after being attacked in the public toilets in Walton Lane , just off Walton Bridge , on Tuesday, 19 February. The weapon, a large kitchen knife, was recovered from the scene.

Unemployed Malone, aged 30 and married with two young children, was arrested the following day, Wednesday, 20 February and subsequently charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty when he appeared at the Central Criminal Court Friday, 13 June.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston-Heard, said: “This was a vicious, unprovoked homophobic attack by Mark Malone on a harmless, innocent man.

“Our thoughts are with the family who were forced to endure a trial. I would like to thank my team of Surrey officers who worked diligently to prove Malone's guilt, along with the media who greatly assisted in publicising our witness appeals, using their networks to reach potential witnesses across the country who may not otherwise have been keen to come forward.

“Murder is very rare in Surrey and this investigation has shown Surrey Police's commitment to tackling such serious crime and bringing offenders to justice.

“I would like to add that Surrey Police has always treated any form of hate crime as a serious offence and I urge victims to report the incident to the police, no matter how minor they believe it may be.”

Gino Meriano Chair of Gay Surrey says "At last justice is served, now others can learn the lesson that we will not tolerate any form of Hate Crime and its now time to see more outcomes, solutions and actions by the relevant authorities in 2009"

 
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Call for better police response over gay hate crime

Dated 5th July 2008

A CHARITY for homosexuals in the county has applauded a government promise to tackle gay hate crime, following “disturbing” new findings, Gino Meriano Chair speaks out about Hate crime

Read the full story

Also covered in the Woking, Esher, Weybridge News and Mail. Surrey Comet and Surrey Advertiser

 
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Police introduce liaison officers for gay community

18th August

Surrey Police has revealed it will introduce lesbian and gay liaison officers in the coming months to help combat hate crime against homosexuals.

The announcement came in response to the recent survey by Weybridge-based charity Gay Surrey.....

Read the full story now

 
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Croydon man cleared of gay bashing - update part two

14th August

Surrey Police are satisfied that the investigation into the assault at Wisley Café car park in Old Lane, Ockham, on May 1, 2006 was both thorough and exhaustive.

The suspect, Ralph Fairman, was arrested shortly after the incident on May 1. Following an extensive investigation, enough evidence was produced for the CPS to prosecute and he was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm in September 2006.

He was found not guilty of the offence at Guildford Crown Court on August 1.

West Surrey Superintendent Neighbourhoods Kul Verma said: “The evidence is presented in court and then it is up to our judicial system to determine whether a person is guilty or not.

“We would like to reassure people that we will not tolerate hate crime of any nature and will always take such allegations extremely seriously and investigate them accordingly. We have extremely strong links with Gay Surrey and we will continue to build on the trust and confidence that has been established.”

Supt Verma added: “Furthermore, I would like to reiterate that Surrey Police wants to increase the reporting of all hate crime incidents and takes positive action wherever possible.”

 
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Croydon man cleared of gay bashing

2nd August

A CROYDON man who smashed a gay man over the head with a metal bar has been cleared of homophobic assault.

Ralph Fairman, 39, told a jury he attacked Dennis Hammond, 45, with a two foot long drill bit out of self defence.

Mr Hammond had claimed he had been attacked from behind at 6am on May 1 last year while he was urinating in a car park on the A3 at Wisley - a renowned homosexual haunt.

But Fairman said he had been scared when Mr Hammond approached him, pleasuring himself.

Thomas Cleeve, prosecuting, told the court Mr Hammond thought the car park, which he had visited in the past, would be a safe place to stop to relieve himself on his way home to Bracknell.

Mr Cleeve said: "He was aware whilst he was there of a van pulling into the car park nearby, and as he was urinating he felt a sharp blow to the back of his head.

"He put his hand to his head and felt some blood."

Despite blood pouring from a one inch gash, Mr Hammond chased Fairman's blue Ford transit van in his two-tone coloured car down the A3 to get his registration number, then went to Guildford police station.

The court heard that Mr Hammond told police in his statement: "I feel I have been attacked purely because I am gay."

Fairman handed himself into Croydon police station later that morning.

He told the court that he had hit the complainant because he panicked after he walked to his car with a "psychotic" look on his face as he played with himself.

He said he'd stopped at the car park to use the lavatory at the cafe.

He said he was unaware of the car park's reputation, but as he sat in his van he became suspicious of a car with blacked-out windows when it parked nearby.

He claimed that as he was reading his newspaper he looked into the wing mirror where he saw a man approaching pleasuring himself.

He told the jury he told the man to get lost, but the complainant continued to approach with a grin on his face.

The defendant said he was concerned for his safety because he thought there may be another person in the car, and he grabbed the metal bar from his van and got out.

He said that Mr Hammond tried to punch him, but missed and lost balance, and so he cracked him over the head with the drill bit before jumping in his van and driving off.

The defendant, of Shepherds Way, was found not guilty by a jury at Guildford Crown Court of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

 
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National Front Demo Set Up By Brighton Police To Be Attacked By Poofters!

6th August

A message posted for Mr Williamson surrounding their NF Demo at Brighton Pride

NF demo stitched up by Brighton Police!
Earlier today me and BPP Comrade Buster met with about ten NF Comrades, and embarked upon the planned NF demo in Brighton. Bring back Clause 28 was the theme, as around a half a million homosexuals descended upon the city. Brighton Police had known for a long time that we were going to demonstrate, yet they were not at our RV point when we arrived, and when they did turn up, they designated us an area on the corner of Baker Street and London Road. This was hardly a suitable area for us to demonstrate under any circumstances, but it got worse. With no barrier, and only two very disinterested coppers, we were told to start our demo there and then. As soon as we put our first banner up we were attacked. We fought back, and considering our group was made up of two old age pensioners, a woman, four young children and just six fighting fit men, we stood our ground until it had got so out of hand that the police ordered us to leave. Hit by plastic bottle of soft drink that had not been opened, I was sporting a black eye and broken glasses. Others received cuts and bruises, but we are not the surrendering types.

Considering the homosexuals believe they have been victims of discrimination, and that there freedoms have been denied for so long, one would have expected them to understand our right to a peaceful protest. Not so, the evil venomous bastards bombarded us with missiles even though half our contingent were young or elderly. We will not forget this treatment, by the police or the reds and homosexuals. And if they think we won't be back next year, they best think again.

Gino Meriano, Chair of Gay Surrey and gay right campaigner says "we can only hope that next years Brighton Pride remains a peaceful one. Freedom of speech is at the heart of modern democracy however when that crosses the line and becomes illegal no one wins".

Only next year, the National Front will be demanding that more members turn up. And we in the BPP will be expecting the same, turn up and support our nationalist Comrades.

AND DON'T LEAVE US IN THIS **** EVER AGAIN!

Always For Race & Nation

Pete Williamson, BPP National Organiser.

 
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Lifestyle Survey - Safety and Security Report 2007

23rd July

Introduction to the report

Gay Surrey's strategic mission is to help our community to realise true equality and one of our primary action areas is to FIGHT HATE CRIME.
 
At the beginning of 2007, we launched our Lifestyle Survey. It was the first attitude and opinion survey specifically designed and targeted towards the LGBT community in Surrey. The topics range across a number of public and commercial services.
 
The results are published on a rolling basis to enable interested organisations and individuals track and monitor opinions.
 
This report takes a closer look at the results and responses surrounding safety, security and Hate Crime in Surrey.
 
It is our intent to stamp out homophobic incidents and hate crime by continuing to help support Surrey Police in achieving their goals of positive action and strengthen confidence within the LGBT community of Surrey.

Read the full report

 
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StopHateNow Walk Cancelled

17th July
It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that owing to possible homophobia and other factors too numerous to mention, the venue have decided to cancel the day including the walk which they will no longer allow us to hold there.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who got involved (you know who you are) for their dedication, commitment and tenacity toward this project.

This project as most of you know would have been a fantastic way to raise our profile and bring in funding for our StopHateNow campaigns. I really hoped that our charities commitment to conscientiously and actively put something back into our community would have been seen from this walk, but I'm afraid this is not going to be the case so onwards and upwards

The matter has been reported to Surrey Police and is under investigation

Keep an eye on the website to ensure you keep up to date with any events to see how YOU can help us in the weeks to come!!

Nate
Gay Surrey

 
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The newly-appointed minister for Children,
Kevin Brennan

5th July
The newly-appointed minister for Children, Kevin Brennan, has committed the government to working with Stonewall to eradicate homophobic bullying from British schools.

Speaking at the gay equality organisation's Education for All conference in London, Mr Brennan said the new Department for Children, Schools and Families would focus on the security, well being and success of children in all aspects of their life, not just academic achievement, and that stopping bullying in all forms was a key part of that mission.

"Bullying is not simply a part of growing up," he said.

"Shame, indignity and humiliation at school is something that no young person should have to put up with.

"I am determined to stamp out bullying in all its forms – from the old menace of racism to the recent emergence of cyber-bullying."

The minister stressed that faith schools will be compelled to take action against homophobia as well as secular institutions and he set out two approaches to tackling the problem:

"The first is effective intervention. Part of the reason for the apparent inertia and inaction is that often, teachers are unsure what to do.

"We need to make sure that every teacher has the knowledge, skills and confidence to deal with incidents of homophobic bullying. To challenge intolerance and disrespect in whatever form it rears its ugly head."

Mr Brennan said that schools will be issued with new guidance, telling them to specifically address homophobic bullying in their policies.

"Schools need to have proper systems in place enabling pupils to report homophobic bullying," he said.

"Even more importantly, policy and good intentions must be absolutely reflected in practice, with sanctions being firmly and consistently applied."

The minister said better pastoral care from teachers was vital, and that going beyond just having a 'zero tolerance' approach was needed:

"Children and young people are taught about the importance of equality and diversity in ways that are appropriate to their age.

"Helping them develop the values of respect and understanding which help shape a progressive and inclusive society. Parents too need to be involved."

Delegates to the conference wanted to know why only guidance was being issued to schools, instead of stronger action.

Others stressed the need for better teacher training around homophobia and homosexuality.

Mr Brennan told PinkNews.co.uk:

"The guidance is strong, it has got the full force of the government behind it.

"We are committed to making sure that every school implements the guidance.

"We don't like to simply put bureaucratic requirements on schools without the evidence that that is needed so at this stage it remains guidance. We will be monitoring its implementation."

Mr Brennan is the MP for Cardiff West. He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families by Gordon Brown last week.
 
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Open verdict on boy's rail death

An open verdict has been returned by a jury at the inquest into the death of a teenager on a railway line.

Jonathan Reynolds, 15, from Bridgend, was killed by a train after lying on train tracks at Pencoed station in January 2006.

The inquest heard he had been bullied during his time at school and had been teased at Bryntirion Comprehensive school about his sexuality.

But his family said they did not believe bullying was a factor.

The inquest was held at Merthyr Tydfil.

Witnesses had reported seeing Jonathan walk onto a track and lie down before a passenger train.

'Very popular'

After his death, his parents Mark and Caroline Reynolds said in a statement that words could not express their "shock and grief".

They said Jonathan was a "much-loved, fun-loving and very bright young man who had an exciting future life ahead of him".

At the time of his death, the school's head teacher described it as one of the "most difficult days in the school's history" and that from all indications, Jonathan, a year 11 pupil, was happy at school.

Jonathan was described as a "very popular pupil".

BBC news story 1st June

 
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Gay Surrey's IDAHO a huge success

International Day against Homophobia

IDAHO 17th May 2007

Gay Surrey's IDAHO was an amazing night with over 120 people attending the evening at the Oatlands Park Hotel.

The evening kicked off with the release of 77 balloons highlighting the 77 countries around the world where it is still illegal to be gay.

The night unveiled the need to raise awareness to hidden homophobia in Surrey and how we as a community should be more visible and speak out in putting an end to hate crime.

Gino Meriano Chair of Gay Surrey, followed Bill Buckley's opening speech by talking about the meaning behind IDAHO and hate crime across the world and the importance of speaking out, forming new partnerships and their new stophate now campaign, QBOY's powerful speech about the young and his live performance of his latest single closed the evening on a high and created a new buzz for action".

Gino says" the night was electrifying there was so much support, not only from our community but from everyone, including organisations that believed more needed to be done, IDAHO Surrey was not about promoting the work our charity have done so far but the importance surrounding the "International Day Against Homophobia" as awhole. There is enough hatred in the world we need to come together as never before and reinforce the need for social acceptance and understanding, we are people to".

The committee were proud to have the following sponsors who also kindly donated to the night from Surrey Police, the Met police, Falcons Football Club, Blackfords Solicitors, THT, Connexions. and GYSE.

From creating IDAHO Surrey 2007 to the actual night itself the charity raised over £870 towards their campaign and wish to thank everyone that contributed towards making this happen.

Gino Meriano, Chair of Gay Surrey continues "this event proved there is so much more to do and as a result of this we will be launching the StopHate Now conference later this year. This will be part two of IDAHO Surrey 2007 offering everyone the opportunity to find out what has happened in Surrey since the 17th May and where we and our partners are heading for the future, more details will follow".

IDAHO is about awareness and your support is always needed, believe it or not we are already planning IDAHO Surrey 2008

More information available here

 
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Gay Surrey's IDAHO event 17th May 2007

International Day against Homophobia

IDAHO 17th May 2007

On the 17th May 2007 Gay Surrey are holding an event to help support IDAHO (International Day against Homophobia) across the world. The Chairman of our charity would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone wishing to support our event, one of Surrey's most important events surrounding Hate Crime and the impact the Equality Act holds on people/companies across the Surrey and the UK

Hate Crime is clear and visible but sometimes ignored due to fear, this night will highlight how far society has come. In an age where the UK has seen so many changes

1999: Ban lifted on serving in Armed Forces
2001: Age of consent made 16
2002: Same-sex couples can adopt
2003: Repeal of Section 28
2005: Civil partnerships
2007: Equality laws

and nearly ten years on what does the future hold for tolerance, understanding and social acceptance, Hate Crime takes many forms and we as a charity believe that with better working relationships with Surrey Police we can make changes, improve reporting and reduce the amount of incidents we see not only in Surrey but across the world as well.

View the full event plans for the night

 
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Gay bashers sentenced

5th January
Weybridge News and mail
Weybridge and Walton Guardian
Wimbledon Guardian

Gay campaigners have condemned as shockingly lenient the sentences given to two "queer bashing" Elmbridge teenagers who used a Samurai sword and imitation rifle to terrorise their victims.

Gary Smith, 19, of Cowley Crescent, Walton-on-Thames, and Spencer Payne, 18, of Locke King Close, Weybridge, drove to Ockham Common, a well-known gay rendezvous near Wisley, last May with the weapons in the boot of their car.

After taunting and insulting the men gathered there, they got out the sword and aimed the rifle at them as they fled for their lives.

But on December 22 the pair effectively walked free from Guildford Crown Court after receiving suspended sentences with community service orders.

Smith had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in public, Payne pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Detective Constable Pete Foster, of Surrey Police, said: "These were serious offences that caused the victims to fear for their safety. No-one should have to suffer victimisation and intimidation simply because of who they are."

"It's shocking. If they wanted to send out a message that using a fake firearm and Samurai sword to target gay people is a very serious crime then this sentence isn't anywhere near strong enough."

Gino Meriano

However, Gino Meriano, chairman of the charity Gay Surrey, said strong words from police were being undermined by light sentences handed out by the courts. "It's shocking. If they wanted to send out a message that using a fake firearm and Samurai sword to target gay people is a very serious crime then this sentence isn't anywhere near strong enough," he said. "These people are specifically going to the area with the intention of hurting gay people." He added that there was little in the way of support for victims of gay-hate crimes.

In court Rupert Hallowes, prosecuting, said the teenagers had been drinking at the Hand and Spear pub in Weybridge on May 1, 2006 before driving to the common.

He said Smith walked over to a car and urinated in front of it while taunting a number of men standing next to their vehicles.

As the pair got more aggressive the men got into their cars to leave. Smith went to the boot of his car and pulled out what a witness believed was a lethal 80cm long Samurai sword. Payne grabbed a rifle from the boot and aimed at cars as they drove off.

Later that night officers arrested the pair. Mr Hallowes said as Smith was arrested he was heard to say: "All this for a bunch of queers." James Buchanan, defending Smith, said that his clients' behaviour that night had been "reprehensible" but did not justify a jail sentence.

Defending Payne, David Castle, said the supermarket worker had drunk eight pints of lager and several tequila shots at the pub.

Recorder Jack Bayliss said: "You went out with the intention, I have no doubt, of upsetting and harassing members of the gay community who were using Ockham common.

"Whatever your personal views may be, society will not put up with what is commonly referred to as queer bashing."

Payne was sentenced to 51 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work. Payne received a 30-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, along with 150 hours unpaid work. Both defendants were also ordered to pay £235 costs.


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Two teenagers sentenced after hate incident at Wisley

29th Dec 2006
Two unemployed youths were sentenced after pleading guilty to firearm and public order offences following a homophobic incident in Wisley in May at Guildford Crown Court last Friday (December 22).

The incident happened late on Bank Holiday Monday (May 1) at around 11.20pm . The two teenagers arrived at Wisley Car Park in Old Lane, Ockham, by car with two female friends. The two men got out of the car and started verbally abusing the people gathered at the popular meeting spot.

Both youths went to the back of their car and retrieved an air rifle and Samurai sword from the boot. Payne admitted aiming the air rifle as if to fire it at the driver of a white van. The occupant of the van drove at sped towards Payne and then fled from the scene. Smith had the Samurai sword in his hands and began waving this around in a threatening manner at nearby vehicles. Many of the people in the car park then began to leave fearing for their safety.

A 32-year old man reported the incident to the police saying that he had been threatened with a Samurai sword. The registration number of the offender's car was circulated and a short while later the vehicle was stopped by police officers on the A3 at Ockham. On searching the car, an air rifle was found in the boot and from the rear footwell the Samurai sword was recovered.

Eighteen-year-old Spencer George Payne, of Locke King Close in Weybridge received a 51-week sentence suspended for two years for one count of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or unlawful violence. He must also carry out 200 hours unpaid work over the next 12 months. He was ordered to pay £235 towards the cost of the prosecution within four months.
The .122 calibre underlever air rifle was also ordered to be disposed of under Section 52(1)
Firearms Act 1968.

Gary Joe Smith, 19, of Cowley Crescent, Walton-on-Thames received a sentence of 30 weeks suspended for 18 months for one count of possession of an offensive weapon in public. He must also carry out 150 hours unpaid work over the next 12 months. Under Section 25 of the Public Order Act 1986 the samurai sword was ordered to be forfeited. He must also pay £235 towards the cost of the prosecution within four months.

Both youths were sentenced in accordance with the aggravating factor of hostility towards people of a different sexual orientation.

The officer in the case, Detective Constable Pete Foster, said: "These were serious offences that caused the victims to fear for their safety. No-one should have to suffer victimisation and intimidation simply because of who they are. The outcome of the case demonstrates that Surrey Police will prosecute anyone committing a hate crime within the full force of the law."

DC Foster added: "Surrey Police has always treated hate crime as a serious offence and undertakes to fully investigate any allegations. Anyone who feels they have suffered a hate crime is encouraged to report it so that positive action can be taken wherever possible."

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