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Detectives are appealing for information following a hate crime assault in Liverpool this morning (Saturday 4 September).
At around 3.10am we received a report of a man in the canal next to Mann Island apartments.
It was reported that the man was pushed into the water by an unknown suspect and a homophobic slur was directed towards him.
Emergency services attended and the man was taken to hospital. He did not suffer any serious injuries but was left extremely shaken by the incident.
Detectives have launched an investigation to find who was responsible for the assault and are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward.
CCTV, witness and forensic enquiries are currently ongoing.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Speight said: “To be attacked and subject to homophobic abuse in this manner is utterly despicable, and we’re determined to find those responsible and remove them from our streets.
“Due to the abhorrent verbal abuse the victim was subjected to, we’re treating this as a hate crime. Merseyside Police stands against hate crime in all its forms and will not tolerate people being targeted in this manner because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If you were in the area around Mann Island in the early hours of Saturday morning, whether you live in the area and heard a disturbance, or were walking home from a night out and saw anything or anyone suspicious, then we would urge you to come forward. Information you hold could be key to us finding those responsible for this appalling attack and bringing them to justice.
“Regrettably we have seen an increase in despicable hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity on Merseyside this summer. In response to these incidents, we have increased patrols and engagement across Liverpool city centre, with officers maintaining a 24-hour presence to keep our communities safe.
“I know that I speak for the overwhelming majority of residents when I say that hate has no place on Merseyside. We will not stand by and let people be subject to abuse because of who they are and we are determined to remove the scourge of homophobia and transphobia from our streets.”
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said "I am horrified that another homophobic attack has taken place in our city. The people of Liverpool want our city to be welcoming and safe for everyone.
"I echo Merseyside Police and many others that - hate crime and those who carry out these attacks - are not welcome in our city."
Andi Herring, CEO and co-founder of LCR Pride Foundation, said: “We are saddened to hear of another reported hate crime in Liverpool. Hate crime in any form, whether it is violent crime, verbal abuse or online, is not welcome in our diverse and inclusive city region.
"We will continue to work with Merseyside Police to understand the circumstances of this incident and we encourage anyone with any information to come forward."
If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre with reference 21000615139. You can also call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111, or their online form at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously
If, for any reason, you do not wish to report a hate crime to the police, the independent charity Stop Hate UK to run a 24/7 confidential helpline for all victims of hate crime on 0800 138 1625 or www.stophateuk.org. You can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Across Merseyside, we also have a number of third party reporting centres including fire stations, citizens advice bureaus and hospitals. A list of locations can be viewed here: merseyside-third-party-hate-crime-reporting-centres.pdf
Dedicated support for victims of hate crime is also available through the Victim Care Merseyside service delivered by Citizens Advice. They can be contacted at [email protected] or by calling 0151 522 1400 ext. 5006.