Volunteers have started a new StreetWatch scheme in Birmingham’s Gay Village – the first of its kind in the country, according to West Midlands Police.

Patrols will take place in the areas around Hurst Street in Birmingham, and the team which is made up of local people, is looking for more volunteers who want to make a difference and make the area safer.

As part of wider plans to make Southside a safer environment following a series of hate crimes committed against members of the gay, bisexual, lesbian and trans community in the city, West Midlands Police issued a statement saying the force is working with local volunteers to pioneer a new StreetWatch scheme.

John-Paul Kesseler was struck with a wine bottle and a pole in an homophobic attackJohn-Paul Kesseler
John-Paul Kesseler was the victim of a brutal homophobic attack in Birmingham’s Gay Village in 2021

The aim of The Rainbow StreetWatch scheme is to create a safer village in direct response to community feedback to a survey during Pride.

A spokesperson for the scheme, said: “People told us they were worried about hate crime and their personal safety when going from bar to bar.”

The volunteer team will report any crimes, antisocial or suspicious behaviour they see to police, Southside street wardens or bar security teams.

As well as being a friendly and visible presence to make people feel safer, Rainbow StreetWatch volunteers will also report on things such as potholes and broken streetlights to Birmingham City Council and ensure the area is well-maintained.

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