The G-A-Y bar is the 50th venue to sign up for the scheme, in a coalition with hate crime specialist officers at the Greater Manchester Police and other organisations tackling homophobia in the city.
Staff at designated third-party hate crime reporting centres are trained in partnership with the local police to help victims seek support in a safe and confidential environment. Training includes how to help victims report incidents of hate or abuse to the police.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council said the council hoped victims would feel assured by the Canal Street bar’s involvement in the scheme.
He told ITV News: “They will have a space here and they will have the staff who have been trained to actually realise what the signs are if someone has been a victim of hate crime.
“They can go through, in a clear and confidential manner, the issues that have taken place and help the victim report that crime either online or in a statement for them to pass on to the police.”
“Sometimes police [stations] and council [offices] are quite intimidating locations, and when someone's been a victim of a crime like this, they need to be supported by their own community.”
Bar manager Steve Hopkins said he would encourage other venues to get involved in the scheme.
He explained: “It’s definitely worth [other bars] looking to do [this]. Even if it’s just one person in a month that comes in, [you] have helped one person.”
The bar, in the Gay Village district, celebrated the news with a street party yesterday (22 July 2018) with music and drinks provided by Smirnoff.
Hopkins added: “It went really well. The support we had from other agencies and charities was amazing. It went down really well.”
“We’ve always worked closely with the police on various things.”
Hate crime legislation defines such a crime as any hate incident that constitutes a criminal offence, and is viewed by the victim or another third party as motivated by discrimination.
Manchester has seen an increase in reports of hate crimes in the last year, with racially aggravated offences the most frequently recorded by police.
PC David Willets, of Greater Manchester Police, said it was the first point of contact like it for the city’s nightlife.
He said: “The village has the latest night-time economy so, when other areas close, everyone flocks to there.
“We want to make sure that if people unfortunately experience hate crime when they’re here, they have somewhere to report it, if they don’t want to come to the police.”