This weekend we’ve been devastated as a global community. The atrocities have hit us hard, and our condolences go out to all the family and friends who have lost loved ones,
and to those who have been injured in the Orlando shooting. There are no words to express how sad we are to hear the news, and it’s with the deepest sympathy and heavy hearts we write this message.
Much has been reported over the last 48 hours, and we’ve heard with tears in our eyes as the victims have been named. We’ve heard how some of those tragically killed in the massacre were sending messages to their loved ones before they were cruelly shot. 50 people were killed, and 52 more are reported to have been injured. Every life taken was precious, and this has been a devastation that has affected the LGBTIQ community the world over.
Today we stand together with our global family, and share in our collective loss. The events of this weekend will be felt without geographical boundaries and will last a long time.
The media has exploded with news and comment that has felt islamophobic. We must recognise today that these were the actions of one man, and we want to be clear, we will not tolerate hate in any form. Now more than ever, we must support and embrace diversity and protect those who would be subject to hate, prejudice and discrimination. We particularly stand in solidarity today with our Muslim members of the LGBTIQ community.
Nick Lewis, Director of Umbrella Gwent says: “The impacts of such a brutal attack on our community reach far and wide, knocking people across the world in so many ways. Confidence will be hit, fear of hate and crime will increase, mental health of people within the community will be affected. This isolated event will have a lasting impact, and because of this we recognise the need for support and strength in the community standing together. Here at Umbrella Gwent, we are offering to support anyone who has been upset or shaken up by these events, and would urge anyone to call us if they need to talk about how they are feeling. We also hope that people will be mindful of hate in all forms, and help us stop it.”
Flying the flag
Today, Gwent Police and the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent stand by our side today to send a message of condolences to the family and friends of those we’ve lost. Gwent Police are flying the rainbow flag at half-mast to pay tribute to those whose lives have been taken from us. The Chief Constable for Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar said:
“I am shocked and saddened by the terrorist attack in Orlando over the weekend. This attack was not only the most deadly shooting in American history but also an act of hatred towards the LGBT Community. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this dreadful massacre of innocent people.”
Gwent Police also have an LGB&T staff network, the Chair of the network Sgt. Jo Melen has also provided a statement saying:
“The horrific events in Florida are a timely reminder that hatred towards the LGBT community is ever present. At Gwent Police we recognise that all hate crime, in whatever form, is completely unacceptable. A poison that blights communities and the lives of people. We stand by the LGBT community at this difficult time and send our thoughts to all those affected. The LGBT community has a history to coming together in the face of hatred and we will do so now. Gwent Police has specialist hate crime support officers who are trained to support victims of hate crime. We urge anyone who experiences hate crime on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender expression to report it.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent added: “Our hearts go out to all those affected by the horrific incidents in Orlando over the weekend. Today we stand together in solidarity to remember all those who lost their lives in this shocking hate crime terrorist attack which has sent shock waves all over the world. There should be no room for crimes of this nature in today’s society and this is why it’s vital that we work with our communities and organisations like Umbrella Gwent to raise awareness about hate crimes.
We have to teach people that hate abuse is wrong from a young age. It’s about making even more people aware of diversity and the effects of homophobic or transgender abuse and enabling them to challenge racism and promote equality.”
Umbrella Gwent provides a range of support services with aims to advance gender and sexual orientation equality and inclusion across Wales.
Umbrella Gwent is also a partner agency within Connect Gwent and as such can provide enhanced support through the service to people of Gwent. Connect Gwent Coordinator, Johanna Robinsons remarks:
“At this horrific time, it could be all too easy to be polarized into our individual communities, but I believe that we should stand together. At Connect Gwent we encourage people to seek support from ourselves or specialist agencies if they have been affected by these events, either today or in the future. The most powerful impact we can have today is to come together against hate, and not allow the actions of one person to divide us.”
Nick Lewis further added: “Please be safe out there, and contact us if you would like to talk about anything. Together we stand in solidarity against all forms of hate.”
Hero Cops save girls life of girl who wanted to kill herself
Two fast-thinking police officers have helped saved the life of a girl who text her mate saying she wanted to end her life. Officers were quickly alerted and began searching for the girl.
The officers were alerted to the incident in the early hours of November 14, when Police Constables Daryl Jones and Mark Bullock, from Southend’s Local Policing Team, were patrolling Southend.
With the clock against them, the officers began searching the area and found a girl who matched the description. She had walked four miles from her home alone after sneaking out in the middle of the night and was on her way to Southend town centre to harm herself. The pair pulled over and approached the girl cautiously.
Upon seeing the officers, the girl broke down and became upset. Daryl and Mark reassured her that they were there to help her. After calmly engaging with the girl, the officers managed to negotiate with her to get in the police car so they could get her out of the cold and talk to her.
She spoke openly with Daryl and Mark about the difficulties she had been experiencing and how she had text her friend in the hope that the friend would get help for her.
She thanked the officers for finding her so quickly and the pair reassured her that they would get her the further help she needed.
Daryl waited with her whilst Mark made a difficult call to her parents to inform them of the situation and that their daughter had not come to any harm. Her dad thanked the officers for finding his daughter so quickly and ensuring her safety.
The girl was taken to a mental health suite for assessment and her parents thanked the officers again for finding their daughter so quickly and getting her the help she needed.
Daryl said: “I’ve never seen more of a genuine reaction for help from someone than when the young girl broke down when she saw myself and Mark and knew we were there to help her.”
Mark said: “We were just fortunate that we were in the right place at the right time and were able to locate her and help her, I have no doubt if we hadn’t of found her it would have been a different outcome.”
Stabbed police dog Finn inspires charity Christmas card and Police Hour are proud to have helped
A Police Dog who was stabbed while chasing a suspected thief has come together with Police Hour to inspire a Charity Christmas Card.
Not just any Christmas Card these cards have been specially designed and drawn by a very brave nine-year-old boy with cancer named Alex Goodwin.
German Shepherd Finn was stabbed on 5th October in Stevenage, His Handler PC Dave Wardell was also injured.
Alex was as devastated when he read that Finn and PC Wardell has been attacked. Alex began drawing pictures of Finn so the idea of a Christmas card was created and they sold out within one day.
Police officer’s son Alex is undergoing chemotherapy for Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that affects fewer than 30 children in the UK each year. He faces further “complex” surgery at Christmas.
There is now a change the law regarding attacks on police dogs and horses. Please make sure your sign it.
Tram driver arrested: Several dead following croydon derailment.
Several people have sadly been killed after a tram derailed in Croydon, leaving five people trapped and more than fifty people injured.
Police were alerted to the incident involing a two-car vehicle that happened at around 6.10am near the Sandilands tram stop.
The British Transport Police confirmed they have arrested the tram driver, Robin Smith assistant chief constable of British Transport Police said: “It is too early for us to confirm numbers but we are working hard to assess the ongoing incident and we are continuing to focus on recovery efforts.”
Emergency services have freed five trapped people, two remain trapped within the tram.
50 people have been taken to hospital for treatment. 31 were taken to Croydon health service’s emergency department while St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, is treating another 20 people, four of who it described as “seriously injured”.