The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, delivered a speech this week at the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust (CST) – the Jewish charity that works to ensure the safety of the British Jewish community. During the speech, Rudd announced that the government would once again be giving millions of pounds, £13.4 million to be precise – to the CST to “provide for security measures at Jewish schools, colleges, nurseries and other locations.”
It is unacceptable to see attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. Official figures from the Metropolitan Police Service reveal that there were 512 anti-Semitic incidents reported in the year to Jan 2016. One cannot help wondering though why on earth the government is handing over taxpayers’ hard-earned money to a Jewish communal organisation when the responsibility for ensuring the security of citizens and religious schools and nurseries etc. is surely that of the police forces? If Jewish citizens and institutions are under threat then it is the duty of the police to devote the necessary resources to ensure their security. That is why we have a police force instead of leaving each community to defend their own places of worship and institutions.
Let’s reflect for a moment about the current government policy of providing huge sums to an organisation such as the CST that is not accountable to taxpayers. The very same Metropolitan Police crime figures show that for the year to Jan 2016 there were 1204 anti-Muslim incidents reported. That is 2.35 times the number of anti-Jewish incidents. Is the government now going to provide £13.4 million times 2.35 (over £31 million) to a Muslim communal organisation to help ensure the security of British Muslims, their mosques and institutions? And what about the Hindu, Sikh and other minority groups? Do we really want to see the creation of multiple faith-based security organisations that perhaps have a self-interest in exaggerating the number of alleged hate crime incidents in order to secure their government funding? That way surely lies the encouragement of identity politics, greater division and madness. How long would it be before parts of the media began referring to those defending mosques as Muslim vigilantes? We are one country and that is why we as taxpayers fund the police to provide the necessary protection and work towards ensuring the safety of all of us, regardless of our faith or background.
This very point was made in the Jewish Chronicle several years ago by Professor Gilbert Kahn who was visiting from the USA.
It cannot be sensible to encourage people to report hate crime incidents to third-party organisations like the CST or any other third-party organisation instead of going directly to the police. At the very least, if people make up hate crime incidents when reporting them to the police they can face prosecution for wasting police time.
It cannot be recalled too often that we are very fortunate to be living in a country which proudly prohibits discrimination based on religion, colour, ethnicity or sexuality. These are important achievements. We should build on them by encouraging the reporting of crimes directly to the police, not to separate third-party communal organisations each with agendas of their own.