Alarm at rising levels of anti-gay attacks

GAY rights campaigners today expressed alarm at rising levels of homophobic crime as figures showed attacks in Lothian appear to be on the rise.

Police have already recorded 30 homophobic offences this year, compared with 37 for the whole of 2005. In 2004, 42 incidents were recorded and just 19 in 2003.

Across other areas of Scotland, such as Strathclyde, the number of incidents has soared.

Chief Inspector George Denholm of Lothian and Borders Police said: "These is a huge level of under-reporting.

"The figures look like the problem is running out of control, but I think at least part of the reason for the increase is because the police are building more trust with the gay community."

Calum Irving, director of gay rights group Stonewall Scotland, called for the Executive to act.

He said: "These alarming figures show that the Scottish Executive should be legislating in this area."

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