Po­lice re­as­sure UK mi­nori­ties

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY LEON SY­MONS

PO­LICE FORCES ACROSS the coun­try are strength­en­ing their links to eth­nic mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties in the wake of the re­cent rise in the ac­tiv­i­ties of far­right groups.

The Na­tional Com­mu­ni­ties Ten­sion Team, part of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Chief Po­lice Of­fi­cers, said it was “aware of height­ened ten­sions and con­cerns within Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in re­la­tion to the on­go­ing English and Welsh De­fence League demon­stra­tions, as well as the on­go­ing fo­cus on ex­treme right-wing is­sues”.

How­ever, it was not aware of any in­crease in re­ported an­ti­semitic in­ci­dents.

De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Alaric Bon­thron, of the Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mu­ni­ties To­gether Strate­gic En­gage­ment Team, said: “The rise of the far right is caus­ing con­sid­er­able con­cerns among com­mu­ni­ties, and one of the big­gest chal­lenges for us is try­ing to en­gage those com­mu­ni­ties.

“The mes­sage we want to get across to the Jewish com­mu­nity — and ev­ery other mi­nor­ity — is that we take hate crime very se­ri­ously, but peo­ple need to re­port it to us. If we are not aware of graf­fiti on a build­ing or a per­son be­ing spat at, we can­not act on it. If it is re­ported to us, no mat­ter how small, it helps us un­der­stand what is go­ing on.”

Det Supt Bon­thron said talk­ing to com­mu­ni­ties gave the po­lice valu­able in­for­ma­tion. “The crimes tell us what is hap­pen­ing, the ru­mours and gos­sip we hear tell us what the com­mu­ni­ties think is hap­pen­ing. If we hear a wild ru­mour that could spark ten­sion be­tween com­mu­ni­ties, we can cor­rect it through com­mu­nity leaders,” said the de­tec­tive.

And he is­sued a clear warn­ing that po­lice would be par­tic­u­larly vig­i­lant in the months lead­ing up to next year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

“If there are in­ci­dents tak­ing place dur­ing the run-up to the elec­tion from what­ever group or party, we will act on them if they are re­ported to us,” he added.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Demon­strat­ing: the far-right English De­fence League

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