Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and David Delew, the Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust (CST), are this week (10 November 2014) writing to council leaders to stress the importance of removing racist graffiti quickly, including when it is on private property and of reporting and recording racist and anti-semitic daubings with the police.
This summer saw a sharp increase in the number of antisemitic incidents that targeted Britain’s Jewish community. The CST, an organisation that monitors levels of UK based anti-semitism, recorded 302 incidents in July alone. To put this into context, CST recorded 304 incidents in total during the first 6 months of 2014.
These incidents included a spate of reported and recorded incidents of anti-semitic graffiti not only on public property but on private homes and in Jewish cemeteries where gravestones were desecrated, covered in offensive graffiti.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
A particularly pernicious expression of anti-semitism and other forms of hatred is the daubing of slogans or symbols, via graffiti or the fixing of stickers and posters, onto both public and private property. In these instances, a visible display of hate can increase tensions between communities, as well as providing a physical reminder to the victim of the abuse they have suffered.
We must all continue to stand unified against all forms of hatred be it anti-semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, racism or homophobia, whatever its manifestation, whether it is expressed on social media, as a physical attack, as a verbal threat, or in any other manner.
Under sections 48, 49, 50 and 52 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 (as amended) local authorities have the powers to swiftly remove any physical sign of hatred on any property in order to minimise the risk of increased tensions.
It is also incumbent upon local councils that instances of anti-semitic and racist daubings are recorded and reported to the police. In these cases it is important to liaise quickly and closely with the police before removing the daubing, and any materials used, to ensure that evidence is not destroyed and that photographs can be taken.
The government is committed to tackling anti-semitism through effective implementation of strong legislation against racial and religious discrimination and racially and religiously motivated crime.
The Department for Communities and Local Government also recognises the importance of education and projects that promote integration in addressing anti-semitism and all other forms of hatred.
Among the projects the department supports is the Anne Frank Trust which uses Anne’s diary not only to educate about the horrors of the Holocaust but to tackle prejudice and discrimination in London and the West Midlands. The programme encourages young people to embrace positive attitudes, personal responsibility and respect for others.
Hate crime can be reported to the police through normal channels, or through the True Vision website. To report anti-semitism to the CST call 0208 457 9999 or via their website.