Hate crime victims urged to come forward as police hail biggest-ever Northern Pride
The biggest Pride event ever held in the North East has been heralded a success by police - who lit up a station in rainbow colours to mark the occasion.
Northern Pride arrived in Newcastle at the weekend, with around 35,000 people attending the events in Nun's Moor Park.
The registered charity aims to reduce homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, promote awareness of equality and unite LGBT+ communities across the region.
The city centre was alive with colour, and hundreds of police officers and volunteers joined around 20,000 members of the public for the Pride Parade through the city on Sunday.
Forth Banks police station was even lit up in the colours of the rainbow flag in a show of support for the event and the LGBT+ community.
Today, Northumbria Police revealed there was no trouble or disorder across the event, and praised everyone who came along to be a part of the weekend.
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said it is important that the force shows its support at events such as Northern Pride.
"This was truly an amazing event," she said. "Every year the atmosphere is brilliant, but this was the biggest Northern Pride ever in the city.
"With crowds that big you always expect to see some pockets of disorder, but we did not see that this weekend, and that is testament to those who took part.
"It was loud, it was colourful, and when I was on patrol I saw smiling faces and people having a good time everywhere I looked.
"Our officers and wonderful volunteers were dancing at the stage in Nun's Moor Park, talking to people about a career in the police and then walking side by side with the public in the parade.
"It is really important we do those things and engage with those who identify as LGBT+ so that they have the confidence to engage with police when they need to.
"We receive reports of people being targeted for who they are far too often, and people need to know that those reports will be taken seriously by police.
"Walking side-by-side with the public at the Pride Parade and lighting our station up in rainbow colours sends a really strong message - that we won't tolerate hate crime under any circumstances.
"However, we are always keen to build and improve on our relationships within the LGBT+ communities and we want to hear what more we can do to help.
"We are here to listen to your ideas and views. Please come and speak to us, we are here for you."
Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird added: “It was great to see Pride 2018 so well attended.
"Special thanks to all Northumbria Police staff who supported the various events over the weekend.
“Pride shows what a great region we are. Hate crime has no place in Northumbria and we are united in ensuring that it does not happen in the North East.”
Victims of hate crime can report incidents via the Northumbria Police website HERE.