Funding boost for synagogues and schools to protect against antisemitic attacks

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Synagogues and Jewish faith schools will get £1 million extra to guard against attacks and a new dedicated police taskforce is being created in a bid to crack down on antisemitic crime.

Specific chants, banners and emblems could be added to policing guidance, with the first meeting of the Jewish Community Police, Crime and Security Taskforce likely to consider whether it is necessary to review such guidance in light of concerns shared by the Jewish community.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the Government wants to ensure “vile criminals who threaten the peace and safety of Jewish communities feel the full force of the law”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman described antisemitism as
Home Secretary Suella Braverman described antisemitism as “one of the great evils in the world” (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

The total amount allocated through the grant since 2015 is £122 million and the department said the measures are being taken in light of the latest Home Office hate crime statistics showing despite making up less than 1% of the population, almost a quarter of recorded religiously motivated hate crimes in the UK were against Jewish people in 2021-22.

The new taskforce, made up of senior policing leaders, ministers, the Community Security Trust (CST), and other stakeholders aims to “strengthen accountability and enhance efforts to combat antisemitic crime and violence against Jewish communities”, the department said.

It is due to meet for the first time in late spring – when it is likely to consider guidance on chants, banners and emblems and ensuring police and the Crown Prosecution Service are using their powers to arrest and charge criminals who pose a threat to the Jewish community – and three times a year thereafter.

She added: “Attacks on the Jewish community are abhorrent. I applaud the police’s efforts to tackle these crimes, but we must go further to ensure the vile criminals who threaten the peace and safety of Jewish communities feel the full force of the law.

“I am proud to be working closely with the Community Security Trust and colleagues in policing and beyond to help protect the UK’s Jewish community, go after antisemitic offenders, and stamp out racism in all its forms.”

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said: “Antisemitism is abhorrent and I stand hand in hand with the Jewish community against all its manifestations.

“We must continue to strive to ensure that every community can live and worship in safety, free from threat.”

Ms Braverman said she will write to all Home Office public bodies and every chief constable and police and crime commissioner, as well as the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the College of Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service “to reaffirm the government’s support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and encourage its further adoption”

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, the NPCC lead on hate crime, said his organisation “supports this funding to help reduce antisemitic hostility suffered by Jewish people in the UK”.

He added: “The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice.

“I would encourage anyone who suffers such a crime to report it, either to the police or to the Community Security Trust. In an emergency, always call 999.”

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