FIGURES have been released regarding the number of hate crimes committed in Northern Ireland last year.
The PSNI has recorded over 260 incidents of homophobic nature within the last year in Northern Ireland.
Of those incidents, 152 were committed, including violence, theft and criminal damage.
The publication of the figures comes a day after North Belfast politician Malachai O’ Hara was a victim of homophobic treatment while on the way to work in the city on Wednesday morning.
The Green Party member was standing at a bus stop in the city when a car pulled up next to him.
The occupant of the car then told him that he had dropped something, and when Mr. O’ Hara realized he hadn’t actually dropped anything, the occupant of the car told him, “you dropped your gay card”.
Mr. O’ Hara then challenged the man on what he had said but decided to retreat when the occupant threatened to assault him.
Although he played down the altercation by calling it “water off a duck's back”, the politician urged that “every incident of hate crime be reported to police”.
Too many LGBTQ people shrug off casual homophobia and transphobia because they don’t deem important enough or they are convinced anything will be done.”
“It’s hugely important that every incident and crime is reported. It allows police and politicians to understand the true picture of everyday harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”
The PSNI said: “We have spoken to the man this morning and arranged to call with him about the matter later today”.