Community Update: Friday 13 October
13 October 2023
This CST update is to inform our Jewish community of some of the many things that have been done over the last week to help protect our communities throughout the UK. We hope that knowing this information helps you to lead the Jewish life of your choice.
The communication and cooperation from police to CST has been exceptional. It has occurred at every level, from specialist operations to local commands. It is driven by chiefs of police with the strong backing of government.
Police patrols and responses in Jewish areas have been significantly increased. This includes policing for Jewish schools and the travel routes used by Jewish schoolchildren. Where it is possible, police are present at schools for opening and closing times.
Two police officers are stationed in CST’s headquarters building. This enables any emergency situations to be escalated immediately to police.
CST’s northern and southern offices are in constant contact with police regarding antisemitic incidents, police patrols, and security operations with CST staff and volunteers.
The police are fully aware of the need to have a strong presence on anti-Israel demonstrations, not only where they occur, but also the routes to and from the demonstration. Where this requires extra policing at Jewish locations, it should be given.
The Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and many more senior politicians (from across the parties) have held extensive meetings with CST and police, in order to ensure that all possible support is being given. They have reached out to our community, attending numerous memorial services in synagogues, often without any publicity.
On Thursday 12 October, the government announced an immediate £3 million boost for guards to work at Jewish schools, synagogues and community centres. This is in addition to the current £15 million annual guarding grant. CST manages the process, but the money pays for non-CST guards from commercial security companies.
Be in no doubt that our most senior politicians are rock solid behind the community right now.
Arrests and Prosecutions
The police and government are determined to strongly intervene against antisemitism and support for terrorism. New guidance has been issued to police and others, based on past lessons. As a result, arrests have already occurred this week at anti-Israel demonstrations in London and Manchester.
We are keenly aware of the emotional and racist impact of Jews being taunted with Palestinian flags. It is not illegal to fly a Palestinian flag, but arrests should now occur if it used provocatively against Jewish passers-by, or deliberately driven past synagogues etc.
If support for terrorism is voiced, our expectation is that arrests will be made. The police will also make arrests for the flying of banned terrorist flags and insignia, including Hamas.
In CST, British Jews have the most developed communal security model of its type anywhere in the world. This is because our community has invested in security for decades, supporting expert professional staff and an extensive network of 2,000 properly trained and equipped volunteers. They are dedicated to protecting their communities and have worked tirelessly throughout this time.
Similarly, we have an extensive security infrastructure at our schools, synagogues, community centres etc. You may sometimes feel that these measures, and the presence of CST and guards, is excessive: but the fact is that it all exists for times like these. Hundreds of schools and synagogues have direct CCTV and radio cover with our 24/7 Control Centre. Feeds can be shared with police control and response.
This week, CST, in partnership with police and community organisers, secured highly public community vigils in the city centres of London, Manchester and Leeds. We have also, of course, helped secure hundreds of communal locations. This is our regular work, but our security presence has been strongly increased.
CST has a highly sophisticated research and monitoring expertise. this feeds directly to police and CST operations.
If you see antisemitism, or suspicious behaviour, please report it to CST. Reporting gives us the evidence base for our operations, for policing and for government action.
In an emergency you should call 999.
Social Media & WhatsApp
CST understands and shares the concerns of British Jews at this very difficult time, but we ask that you take the utmost care not to spread further alarm by sharing fake or inaccurate online material.
CST has been issuing clarifications of the online materials that caused concern this week. We will of course continue to do so, but you should play your part by checking our website and social media for the latest updates.
See the latest security updates on our website cst.org.uk/latest.
The more reliably informed you are, the better for us all.
9 February 2023
16 November 2021
4 November 2021