Interview with support officer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people

Picture used with consent from British Transport Police website

You can find PCSO Mott’s official Police biography by clicking here

What does your LINK role to the LGBT community exactly entail?

LINK is the British Transport Police’s support organisation for LGBT staff. My LINK role includes acting as a focal point for all LINK matters on the London North Area of BTP and, to provide a point of contact for LGBT staff. I also work to raise awareness of LGBT issues and the role of LINK, as well as providing advice and guidance on LGBT issues.

I provide feedback to the Executive Committee on LGBT issues and share any best practice gathered from my Area. I also support LINK members by organising both professional and social networking opportunities across the Area.

What do you think the police and other councils could do to further help these people in the community?

I think in recent years there has been a huge improvement in the way in which the police and other organisations work with the LGBT communities.

Nonetheless, we should not be complacent because there is still a way to go in terms of changing some people’s attitudes and thoughts, as shown by the anti-LGBT flyers recently distributed in Tower Hamlets, East London.

I don’t think everyone realises that for an LGBT person it’s sometimes difficult to be relaxed and at ease, even in the area in which they live, let alone the area they work in. However, this is why I feel completely comfortable within BTP: I’m treated as a member of staff police officer who happens to be LGBT, not the other way around.

What advice would you offer a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person wanting to get involved in becoming a PCSO?

My advice for any budding applicants would be to just go for it.

I have to admit that I was initially concerned about how my colleagues might react to having an LGBT officer on the team, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were no issues whatsoever. If anything, it was fully embraced and I have always received full support from my supervisors to attend meetings and take part in events and initiatives that relate to the LGBT community.

 Does being a PCSO make you more effective than a standard police officer as being LINK to the g, l & b-s community?

I don’t think your police role matters too much when speaking to the LGBT community, but what does help, in my opinion, is that you are LGBT.

Some people will feel more comfortable reporting crimes, especially hate crime, to officers who have more of an understanding of what they might be going through.

Has your position had a positive impact on your life and if so how?

Joining the police has had both positive and negative impacts on my life. There are some friends and members of my family who I don’t really speak to anymore as I’m the first person in my family and circle of friends to actually do this for a career.

However, for me the positives far outweigh the negatives. My role gives me the chance to travel all over the United Kingdom to places I wouldn’t have been able to visit in any other job. I’m constantly meeting new and interesting people and have the privilege of experiencing something new on every shift I work. You never know what is going to happen next in our line of work!

 What do you think, for the general public, are the most surprising aspects of your job?

I don’t think a lot of people know exactly what a BTP PCSO’s responsibilities are. I’m asked a lot of the time why I have handcuffs as a PCSO, and I try to explain to them that we have more powers, for instance, than PCSOs from other police forces. We are also able to enforce railway byelaws and most of the people we deal with find it a bit strange.

I think if people were more aware of our powers they would see us in a slightly different light.

To reach out to the PCSO liaison officer in your area of London for any reason, you can find there contact details here

So there it is OntheBeat101’s first look at the LGBT community and how they are supported by PCSOs like John Mott. Maybe you have an experience you would like to share, or just an opinion on the topics – either way do tweet us @onthebeat101 and/or leave a reply below