Police work to stamp out antisemitic hate crime in Hertsmere

PUBLISHED: 17:05 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 06 September 2018

Steve O'Keeffe

Steve O'Keeffe

Archant

With one of the UK's largest Jewish populations, police in Hertsmere have been patrolling Jewish organisations to prevent antisemitic hate crime.

Police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) have been working closely with Community Security Trust (CST) for these efforts.

Police visit Jewish schools and synagogues across Hertsmere daily, with joint patrols with CST taking place every Saturday.

Enhanced joint patrols take place during Jewish festivals and the High Holy Days in September and October.

Other police forces run similar patrols during High Holy Days. “But we are unique in Hertsmere as we run the joint patrols consistently throughout the year,” explained Hertsmere chief inspector Steve O’Keeffe.

“There is no specific threat in Hertsmere against the Jewish community, in fact we only had 13 incidents during 2017, which were mostly naming calling by young people on young people,” he added.

“However, it is important that we respond to community concerns by providing regular, dedicated patrols at key locations, we hope to prevent antisemitism from occurring and reduce concerns about potential terrorist activity.

“The initiative has been running since May 2017, so it is now embedded into daily routine police patrols.”

David S Delew, CST chief executive, said: “I am grateful for the close working partnership between CST and Hertfordshire Constabulary, dedicated to tackling and preventing antisemitism and terror activity in the area.

“The ongoing joint Police and CST patrols in Hertsmere are an excellent example of how we are working together to protect our Jewish community.”

Chief inspector O’Keeffe added: “We really value the support of uniformed CST volunteers who patrol alongside our officers providing advice around religious considerations and help improve our community engagement.

“Feedback from the Jewish community has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Chief superintendent Matt Nicholls from the Local Policing Command added: “I have been monitoring this initiative which has proved successful over the past 16 months.

“It has helped improve community engagement with the Jewish community, who sometimes feel vulnerable.”

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