GLLOs: Building a bridge between police and the gay community
It’s graduation day for a new class of Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers or GLLOs. SX gets the lowdown on how the program is building a bridge between the force and the LGBTI community. Cec Busby reports.
Next year will mark 25 years since the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) program came into being to better equip NSW Police with strategies to assist members of the LGBTI community that are victims of crime.
Inspector Amanda Calder of Central Metropolitan Region told SX there are currently around 150 active GLLOs across the state and she described the program as being incredibly important to assist with making LGBTI and gender diverse communities feel more comfortable when dealing with the police.
“We’re gay friendly and it gives an LGBTI person someone to speak to that is well-versed in the issues that affect them,” she explained.
Calder said a GLLO can be particularly important when LGBTI people have had few, if no dealings with the police.
“Dealing with the police can be stressful in itself, so to know you can come in and request to speak with a GLLO can just make things a little bit easier for someone.”
Calder, who has undertaken the GLLO training herself, said it touched on all areas of LGBTI issues. “Members from PFLAG, ACON, the Gender Centre and Twenty10 all came in to speak with us,” she said. “It meant we all took away a better understanding of the intricacies and diversities of the LGBTI community, so it has been wonderful.”
Calder said the impact of the GLLOs can be felt both externally and internally.
“It says to both police officers and members of the community that we support LGBTI people and we have an understanding of what people in the LGBTI community face on a day-to-day basis. We hope it shows police are here to help people. The GLLOs offer specialist expertise. If we can bridge the gap between the police and the GLLOs, and the GLLOs and the community, that’s a wonderful thing.”
GALLERY: NSW Police officers completed their GLLO training last week, which included a meet and greet with the LGBTI community. Photos by Cec Busby. View the full gallery here