Jewish communities are to be better protected from vile antisemitic attacks with a £1m funding boost and a new dedicated police taskforce.
Synagogues and faith schools will be given £15 million for protective security measures in 2023 to 2024 as part of the Jewish Community Protective Security grant, a £1 million increase on last year.
This will fund increased protective security, including security guards and other security measures such as CCTV and alarm systems to protect against persistent hate crime, antisocial behaviour, terrorism and state threats.
In addition, senior policing leaders, ministers, the Community Security Trust (CST), and other stakeholders will form a new Jewish Community Police, Crime and Security Taskforce.
The taskforce will strengthen accountability and enhance efforts to combat antisemitic crime and violence against Jewish communities.
It will provide a regular forum to discuss with operational partners, communal security concerns relating to policing, terrorism, state threats, hate crime, and public order matters.
Chaired by the Home Secretary, it will meet for the first time in late spring, and three times a year thereafter.
The first meeting is likely to consider whether it is necessary to review operational policing guidance in light of concerns shared by the Jewish community.
This could include guidance on specific chants, banners and emblems which are antisemitic, and ensuring that the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are using their powers to arrest and charge criminals who pose a threat to the Jewish community.
The measures follow the latest Home Office hate crime statistics which show that despite making up less than 1% of the population, almost a quarter of recorded religiously-motivated hate crimes in the UK were against Jewish people in 2021 to 2022.
The Home Secretary announced new measures in a speech at the Community Security Trust’s annual dinner on 29 March.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Antisemitism is one of the great evils in the world. It is vital that all people, but especially political leaders, challenge antisemitism whenever and wherever they encounter it.
“Attacks on the Jewish community are abhorrent. I applaud the police’s efforts to tackle these crimes, but we must go further to ensure the vile criminals who threaten the peace and safety of Jewish communities feel the full force of the law.
“I am proud to be working closely with the Community Security Trust and colleagues in policing and beyond to help protect the UK’s Jewish community, go after antisemitic offenders, and stamp out racism in all its forms.”
Minister for Security, Tom Tugendhat said: “Antisemitism is abhorrent and I stand hand in hand with the Jewish community against all its manifestations.
“We must continue to strive to ensure that every community can live and worship in safety, free from threat.”
CST Chief Executive Mark Gardner MBE said: “This announcement by the Home Secretary is hugely welcome, given the continuing threats of terrorism and antisemitism that are faced by British Jews.
“CST will continue to do everything we can in partnership with the Home Office so as to ensure the best possible security for Jewish schools, synagogues and communities throughout the country.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Lead for Hate Crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said: “It is vital that all citizens are able to live their lives free from targeted abuse, and the NPCC supports this funding to help reduce antisemitic hostility suffered by Jewish people in the UK.
“The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice. I would encourage anyone who suffers such a crime to report it, either to the police or to the CST. In an emergency, always call 999.”
The Home Secretary has also pledged to write to all Home Office public bodies and every chief constable and police and crime commissioner, as well as the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service, to reaffirm the government’s support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and encourage its further adoption.
The new funding will bring the total amount allocated through the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant to £122 million since 2015.