Questions to Deputy Met. Commissioner on hate crimes and security for Mosques and Synagogues
Andrew Dismore AM: I was just going to follow up something I raised with the Mayor at the last Mayor’s Question Time and that was the need to provide reassurance and protection particularly for Muslim and Jewish minorities in these circumstances. I am wondering what discussions you have been having with the Muslim and Jewish communities about reassurance, about additional patrolling and so on.
Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, MPS): Under [Chief Superintendent] Mak Chishty in Territorial Policing, we have done a lot of work with a whole range of communities across London around particular concerns, communities that feel vulnerable or isolated, including the French community in London. A lot of work has gone on with various communities around what the issues are, how we can help and what the appropriate way is to do that. That will vary with increased patrols and increased focus and vigilance – and we have talked a lot over the last couple of weeks about some of the growth we have seen in hate crime figures both post this event and also pre this event – and just emphasising the ongoing work around where community cohesion fits as a whole around this.
Andrew Dismore AM: I was going to ask you about the increase in hate crime. Has there been an increase post Paris as well?
Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, MPS): I do not have the last two weeks’ figures to be able to say to you. Yes, I will certainly get them for you so that we can see. We know that communities are far more sensitive around this issue and so expect that we are going to see an increased level of reporting.
Andrew Dismore AM: Additional reassurance patrols and so on are always provided after these sorts of events, I suppose. How long can you sustain that additional assistance? 5
Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, MPS): It is all done against an overall threat and the focus will move between communities as we go. Already, when you look at the events that have now occurred in Belgium and elsewhere in the world, it goes back to the first question. This threat constantly moves and some of the things we are providing reassurance for now we may not be in three, four or six months’ time as the threat profile changes or some other form of atrocity in the world manifests itself. It is really about doing it at the time when the threat is at its most acute.
It is about reinforcing those day-to-day liaisons and support, like the work that Mak [Chishty] and a number of colleagues are doing in Territorial Policing, and about making sure that the links with many communities – Muslim, Jewish; right across the spectrum of London’s faith and different communities – are there as everyday links to pick things up and change. As you will know from your own community and the people you work with, whilst there is often a lot of reaction in those first seven to ten days, sometimes it is a month or two months later that people suddenly say, “The nature of how I live my life in London feels like it has changed”. Those are the things that we need to work on with people to be able to say, “These are the realistic threats”. Of course, you could paint a scenario that is out here, but, “That is the realistic end of these threats”.