Greater Manchester Police has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that it has lost track of antisemitic crime data due to the installation of a new IT system.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, is in charge of police governance for the city, but in correspondence with his office, we discovered that the police force has yet to provide explanations to him for the scandal. We are grateful to the Mayor for his help.
We have now reported Greater Manchester Police to the Information Commissioner’s Office and appointed lawyers.
Greater Manchester Police serves Britain’s third largest city, which is home to the second largest Jewish community in the country. Its data on antisemitic hate crimes is therefore essential to understanding the nature of antisemitic crime and holding police forces accountable for their performance.
Following requests from us from as long ago as April 2021 for data regarding antisemitic crimes and non-criminal antisemitic incidents recorded by Greater Manchester Police for every month in 2018, 2019 and 2020 — which is data that all other police forces in the country hold and have provided to us and the Home Office — the force has consistently failed to provide the data, apparently because it would take days to extract it from its computers. In other words, it appears to have lost track of this data.
Paradoxically, while insisting that the data requested was not easily retrievable, subsequent to our request the force did publish part of the data on its website. However, a substantial amount of data remains missing. The problem remains so severe that it is the only police force in the UK to have been unable to meet minimum data requirements set by the Home Office.
This problem does not affect antisemitic hate crime alone: even the Home Office’s national crime statistics have, for several years until this year, omitted data from one of the country’s largest police forces.
With the assistance of the Mayor, we are continuing to press the force to explain itself, compile the necessary data and provide it.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is scandalous that one of the nation’s largest police forces has effectively lost its hate crime data. Through its incompetence, Greater Manchester Police has deprived the Government, us and the public of critical information. Most pertinent to us, the force’s ineptitude prevents the Jewish community from understanding the nature of antisemitic crime and holding police accountable for their performance. Manchester is home to the second largest Jewish community in the country; if its local police cannot even retain data that is so crucial to keeping that community safe, it raises serious questions about whether and how it carries out its actual police work.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.