London, Oct 28 (PTI) Antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes have continued to rise dramatically in London since the Israel-Hamas conflict intensified earlier this month, with Scotland Yard gearing up for another set of protests on the streets of London on Saturday.
The Metropolitan Police said it had recorded 408 antisemitic offences against Britain’s Jewish communities this month, compared to 28 in the same period last year, and Islamophobic hate crime was up from 65 offences in October 2022 to 174 so far this month.
The police force has made 75 arrests linked to the Israel-Gaza conflict and its counterterrorism officers are investigating 10 potential breaches of terrorism laws.
"We’ve been clear over the last week that wherever possible we will police up to the line of the law,” said Met Police Commander Kyle Gordon, with reference to protests and marches planned in London this weekend.
“Our most experienced and knowledgeable officers are working on the policing of these events, making sure we are utilising all legislation to its fullest extent. I would encourage anyone who sees any crimes happening at the moment to report it to the nearest police officer,” he said.
"Any footage or images of potential crimes should be reported to us – we have specialist teams whose role is to scour thousands of pieces of content identifying crime," he added.
Thousands of Met Police officers will be on duty to “provide reassurance” to those who want to make their voices heard at the demonstrations and also to “proactively” deal with anyone who breaks the law. The force said it would also be working to minimise disruption to other Londoners and businesses in the UK capital.
Following chants of “jihad” at previous protests which have been condemned as unacceptable by government ministers, the Met Police has indicated that any arrests related to such chants would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
"If somebody is calling for jihad specifically against Israel the officers will intervene, gather the information. We'll be working with colleagues (from counterterrorism) in relation to what the best course of action is," added Commander Gordon.
The Met Police has placed strict restrictions on the route to be followed by demonstrators under Section 12 of the UK’s Public Order Act. A separate condition has been imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act which prevents people involved in the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign march from gathering in the area outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens in central London.
Details of these conditions, which the police said have been put in place for the safety of those involved as well as the wider public, have been shared directly with the organisers of the march. PTI AK AMS AKJ AMS