Manchester outstrips London in hate crime

Police on the beat in Manchester’s Jewish community

Police on the beat in Manchester’s Jewish community

Manchester has overtaken London as the UK area with the highest number of antisemitic incidents.

Community Security Trust statistics for the first half of 2011 show a 27 per cent rise in incidents in Greater Manchester, with 121 reported crimes. The London figure was 98, a drop of nearly a quarter on the same period last year.

The upsurge also contradicts Home Office statistics suggesting hate crime in general is falling across Greater Manchester.

However, the CST attributes the Manchester rise to more accurate reporting, saying that police and the trust had "intensified their co-operation and established a comprehensive exchange of incident data, focusing on the borough of Salford". This had resulted in the doubling of the number of antisemitic incidents recorded by the CST in Salford from 27 to 56.

It is believed that the CST was unaware of many antisemitic incidents in previous years because police had recorded them as general hate crimes.

The police's own figures for east Salford are 87 antisemitic incidents for the year ending April 2011 - 39 per cent of all hate crime in the area. Hate crime specific to the Jewish Broughton Park neighbourhood was up by 23 per cent. A third of the perpetrators were apprehended.

Salford was the only Greater Manchester area where hate crime rose. It is now on a par with robberies. In neighbouring Prestwich, hate crime fell by 17 per cent with the CST also recording a fall in antisemitic incidents.

There was also a significant decline in Oldham and Rochdale, areas with race relations issues.

"Rises in Manchester's antisemitic incident statistics are largely due to excellent three-way relations between the visibly Jewish community, local police and local CST," said the trust's Mark Gardner. "We have a relatively open exchange of information, so each party is better informed and knows of more incidents than previously.

"Furthermore, we have many joint initiatives between all concerned parties to encourage better reporting so crimes and antisemitism can be better targeted by local CST, police and communities."

Bury divisional commander Chief Superintendent Jon Rush acknowledged "that the number of antisemitic assaults is far too high. People in our Jewish communities should be able to safely and freely go about their business without fear of being attacked.

"We will continue to work with the CST and consult with our local community to try and both educate people and tailor our policing so we can reduce the number of attacks."

Prestwich police inspector Mark Kenny also accepted there was "work to do to support our Jewish communities. We are working with the CST and other partners."

    Last updated: 10:08am, July 29 2011