CST working together to protect the Gateshead kehilla

6 Jun 2019 by CST

Many Jewish communities across Britain are vibrant and thriving, and CST’s mission is to help ensure that this will always be the case. Gateshead’s kehilla has grown greatly in recent years, as families have grown and have been joined by others from the UK and beyond.  The infrastructure within Gateshead has also developed, with more educational institutions, minyonim, a large central Shul and mikvah project underway and more kosher establishments than ever meeting the needs of the growing community. It is an exciting time for Gateshead, and CST looks forward to continuing to work closely with the community to ensure that this continues in safety and security.

CST has a strong working relationship with Northumbria Police and its local council, and we continually advise and represent the community on all aspects of antisemitism, security and policing. Working from our offices in Manchester and Leeds, CST staff give security support that is specially tailored to suit Gateshead. A key part of this work has been providing advice and funding towards physical security measures, such as CCTV, access control systems, intruder alarms and glazing protection where necessary, with CST contributing £540,000 towards security infrastructure across multiple communal and educational facilities in Gateshead since the start of our Security Enhancement Project. It should be noted that the Gateshead kehilla has proven to be a pro-active and dedicated partner in all elements of the Security Enhancement Project including match-funding essential equipment whenever possible.

CST is also responsible for managing a large Home Office grant on behalf of Jewish communities across the UK. Through this grant, we enable commercial security guards to work at Jewish locations. CST is constantly working with the commercial guarding companies to make them as professional as possible, with additional training in both overall communal security and the specific needs of our kehillas. With the relative close proximity of most of the sites and the excellent local networks, we have been able to achieve real value and economies of scale, in effective joined up working between them.

In 2018, over 20 Jewish locations in Gateshead were linked to CST’s National Radio Network. The network, with hundreds of other sites across the UK, is linked directly to CST’s 24-Hour National Security Control Centre. This network allows guards at each of the sites to share information instantly with other sites. In the event of a crisis that effects the Jewish community, the network will allow sites to act quickly, and has already proved vital in dealing with incidents. 

Gateshead’s kehilla is also unique in that for its size and visibility, there appear to be relatively few antisemitic incidents. Of course, some hate crimes do still occur and these can be highly upsetting, such as a knife attack against two Jewish men in April 2018, perpetrated by local youths. When supporting the community to prevent and respond to antisemitic incidents, CST works with local Police Hate Crime units as much as possible. Since January 2018, 77 incidents have been reported to CST in Gateshead, of which 46 were classified as antisemitic hate crimes. CST takes every antisemitic incident seriously, and we are keen for the community to understand that whenever incidents occur, CST and the Police should be informed.

As the community develops and more Jewish institutions and facilities open their doors in Gateshead, CST will be there to support the community with its security needs so that each member of the kehilla can live the Jewish life they want to lead.

If you are interested any security awareness training, learning about reporting antisemitism or suspicious activity, or if you would like to make a donation to CST so that we can continue our essential work, please visit www.cst.org.uk, or call 020 8457 9999 / 0161 792 6666.

In an emergency call the Police on 999 and then call CST’s 24-hour national emergency number on 0800 032 3263.

[Image: Wilka Hudson]

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“CST is an inspiration for all those working to counter hate incidents and crimes... We have been able to move forward knowing that we have colleagues, friends and allies who are working against hate and prejudice with us.”

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