Government report on tackling antisemitism released
15 December 2010
The British government has today released a report (pdf) assessing the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. The report charts the work done by the Cross-Government Working Group on Antisemitism, which includes representatives from ten government departments, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), CST, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. It covers the progress made in recording antisemitic crime, funding for security at Jewish schools, tackling antisemitism on the internet and in the media, and supporting Holocaust education.
In discussing the recent release by ACPO of police figures for antisemitic hate crime across the UK in 2009, which fulfilled a key recommendation of the Inquiry, the report discusses the close cooperation between CST and ACPO's National Community Tension Team in mapping antisemitic crimes and incidents; monitoring tension towards the Jewish community; and coordinating police and CST security operations for Jewish festivals:
The Association of Chief Police Officers data will show the figures for each police force area in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This transparency, combined with the data from the Community Security Trust Annual Report into Antisemitic Crime, gives us the clearest picture yet of the extent of antisemitic hate crime and will allow local groups and the Trust to compare this to their own data and promote discussions with local police where there are discrepancies. The first release of data will show a close correlation in the police and the Community Security Trust records. The Trust data records slightly more incidents but will include some incidents which would not be recordable crimes and therefore not included in the police data.
The original purpose of the National Community Tension Team data collection was to assess the extent of hostility towards communities and to inform policing decisions by predicting times of greater tension and sharing best practice to inform effective prevention activity. Police analysts meet regularly with counterparts from the Community Security Trust to ensure that the picture in relation to antisemitism is as complete as is possible.
The picture provided by the data suggests that there were significant peaks in antisemitic attacks and abuse following high profile events in Israel and the Middle East. Liaison between all police forces, especially the three forces mentioned above, and Jewish community groups is strong and the link to the National Community Tension Team allows them to co-ordinate extra security around, for example, high holy days. The National Community Tension Team, working with the Community Security Trust, provides guidance for police forces to follow when policing these and similar events. The guidance includes examples, based on previous years, of what police forces can do during this time to ensure the safety of Jewish communities.
The Government recognises the valuable service that the Community Security Trust provides to the community. This has been evidenced by them securing funding from the Victims Fund Hate Crime section for the last two years which has supported them in developing models of hate crime reporting.
The report's summary is listed in full below; the full report can be downloaded and read here (pdf).
Summary of key achievements
Education Secretary Michael Gove agreed up to £2m to fund tighter security measures in Jewish faith schools within the state sector.
Government has agreed to fund the counter-terrorism security needs of Jewish faith schools within the state system.
Agreement has been reached for all police forces to record antisemitic hate crimes and the first official antisemitic hate crime statistics were published on 30 November 2010.
Government is committed to host a seminar in spring 2011 to ensure continued progress on tackling antisemitism and all other forms of hate on the internet.
Government recognises the importance of tackling antisemitic discourse and supported the publication of a report Playing the Nazi Card by the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA).
Government has appointed Sir Andrew Burns as the UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues.
Government has made a public commitment to fund the Lessons From Auschwitz Project in 2011.
Government is committed to remembering the Holocaust and have committed £750,000 to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the 2011 commemoration and related educational activities.
Government has committed £2m during 2010-11 to Faith In Action, a small grants programme to support local inter faith activity.
Government has supported Inter Faith Week to the tune of £200k in 2010.
Government has produced and delivered occupational standards for police officers handling hate crimes and published a diagnostic toolkit to enable local criminal justice agencies to self-audit their performance in the handling of hate crimes, from initial call handling through to prosecution.
Government supported the London Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in February 2009 which led to the London Declaration on Tackling Antisemitism.
Government continues to support the work of the Cross-Government Working Group to Tackle Antisemitism.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) established the BIS Group on Antisemitism and Higher Education. The Group has brought together higher education and Jewish community stakeholders and has successfully helped to re-build bridges between the higher education sector and the Jewish community.
The higher education Equality Challenge Unit is undertaking a major and unique national project on Religion and Belief in higher education. The project will seek the views of Jewish staff and students about their experiences of higher education, and investigate the issue of incident monitoring and reporting in higher education, which was raised as a specific concern.
Universities UK have established the Academic Freedom Working Group. The aim of the group is to look at how universities can best protect academic freedom and freedom of speech on campus under contemporary conditions of geo-political conflict, racial and religious tension and violent extremism.