New report: UK anti-Semitic crime surges, prosecutions plummet

A drastic drop in prosecutions accompanies an alarming spike in anti-Semitic crimes in the UK. 

A new report shows that anti-Semitic hate crime in the United Kingdom has surged by 44 percent since 2014, making 2016 the worst year on record, while almost half of the UK police forces did not charge a single one of reported the anti-Semitic crimes. In total, only 15 cases, 1.4 percent of anti-Semitic crime, was prosecuted last year.

New figures obtained from UK police forces around the kingdom by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) for its National Antisemitic Crime Audit show that hate crime targeting Jews has escalated for the third consecutive year.

In 2016, anti-Semitic crime rose by 14.9 percent over 2015, adding up to a 44.5 percent rise over 2014. There were 1,078 anti-Semitic crimes in 2016 and “a consistently elevated level of anti-Semitic crime has become the new normality for British Jews,” the report says.

Police forces recorded 105 violent anti-Semitic crimes in 2016, meaning that on average, one in 10 anti-Semitic crimes involved an act of violence against a Jewish person. Violent anti-Semitic crime continued to disproportionately affect smaller Jewish communities outside London and Manchester, as it has in past years.

Drastic Decrease in Prosecution

Despite promises by UK authorities to crack down on anti-Semitic crime, the number of anti-Semitic crimes charged in 2016 decreased drastically, the report charges.

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The year 2016 saw the number of anti-Semitic crimes charged plummet by 30.5 percent compared to 2015, and by 35.5 percent compared to 2014, when anti-Semitic crime began to surge.

In 2016, only 89 anti-Semitic crimes resulted in charges, meaning that only 8.3 percent of hate crimes against Jews resulted in charges. Alarmingly, 48.9 percent of the police forces which received reports of anti-Semitic crime did not pursue charges in a single case.

An insignificant 15 cases of anti-Semitic crime were prosecuted in 2016, of which only one was a violent crime. In 2015, 12 anti-Semitic crimes were prosecuted, only three of which involved violence.

Anti-Semitic crime appears to be worsening in the initial months of 2017, the report says, with incidents including the firebombing of kosher restaurants in Manchester.

CAA reissued its recommendations from last year, deeming them unfortunately still relevant. The recommendations include producing specific training and guidance on anti-Semitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to anti-Semitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to anti-Semitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving anti-Semitism, as is already required.

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Betrayal of UK’s Jews

Responding to the critical report, the UK’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd stated that her office is working to “tackle anti-Semitic hate crime in all its forms and is using the full force of the law to protect every person in the UK. We will consider the report’s recommendations carefully as we develop new ways to rid the country of this sickening crime.”

Gideon Falter, Chairman of CAA, lamented that “2016 was the worst year on record for anti-Semitic crime… The failure of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to protect British Jews is a betrayal. The solutions are simple, but whilst the right promises are being made, little has been implemented. The result is that British Jews continue to endure intolerable levels of hate crime. There is a very real danger of Jewish citizens emigrating, as has happened elsewhere in Europe, unless there is radical change.”

The Crown Prosecution Service has attempted to defend its record on prosecuting anti-Semitic hate crime by pointing out that it is prosecuting more hate crime than ever before, just not anti-Semitic hate crimes.

“Last year we prosecuted more hate crimes than ever before – more than 15,000 cases. We do not recognize the statistics contained in this report.”

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By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News