Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
Representing, connecting, and supporting Jewish people in Scotland

Chief Constable describes current surge in antisemitism as "completely unacceptable"
 
17 September 2014

The Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House, has issued a message of reassurance to the Jewish Community relating to the recent rise in antisemitic incidents in Scotland. This follows similar messages of reassurance from the First Minister and the Lord Advocate.

SCoJeC has been in close contact with senior officers from Police Scotland since the current spate of incidents began in July, to ensure that the police are aware of all incidents that have been reported to us, and are fully briefed on the unprecedented level of fear and apprehension felt by members of the Community throughout Scotland. We arranged for senior officers from the Safer Communities Department to meet the leaders of local communities, to hear their concerns and discuss what practical measures the police could take to reassure Jewish people throughout Scotland who feel vulnerable and intimidated by recent events, and the Chief Constable, Sir Stephen House, subsequently requested a meeting with SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski.

The Chief Constable then issued the following statement on 5th September:

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"As the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, and indeed as a citizen, I am of course concerned about the recent rise in hate incidents targeted at our Jewish communities. We have recorded 38 anti-Semitic hate incidents in Scotland since the end of June. 20 of these incidents have been recorded as crimes. To put this in some sort of context, the average number of incidents in Scotland over the course of an entire year is less than ten. The current situation is completely unacceptable to any decent person.

I have had conversations with members of the Jewish community over the last few days and you have made clear the deep level of concern you are experiencing. I can tell you that we understand your worries and we are doing our level best to prevent these incidents from happening and, where they do occur, we are working hard to identify the offenders and deal with them effectively and quickly. We have identified the alleged perpetrators in 14 of these incidents: 8 persons have been arrested, 3 more will be reported to the PF, and a further 3 are likely to be reported.

I am aware that the current situation in Gaza has raised concerns within our communities. However, our communities rightly expect that Police Scotland will not tolerate hate crime or any other criminal activity. I can tell you that none of the people who have been abused in Scotland over the past few weeks have been responsible for events in the Middle East. They are simply ordinary Scots people who were abused whilst quietly going about their daily business. Attacking them is not lawful protest.

I am proud of the strong links Police Scotland has with our communities, and I am proud of the social cohesion we have in Scotland. I will be working hard to ensure that both are maintained over the coming months and years."

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Since then, however, there have unfortunately been more incidents, including outside an Israeli-owned business in Edinburgh and a 'blood-stained' Israeli flag incorporating a picture of David Cameron being hung in an area of Glasgow where many Jewish people live; two people have also been arrested and charged with aggravated trespass after a demonstration in Braehead.

We strongly urge members of the Community to report all incidents – antisemitism cannot be effectively tackled if its extent is not known, so even if the nature of an incident makes it difficult to follow up, it should be reported so that the authorities are aware of the true scale of the problem. Non-urgent reports should be made to the police by phoning the national non-emergency number 101, or using the Third Party Reporting form on this website.

 

   
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