On Tuesday evening, in separate incidents, a gang of three young men riding Transport for London’s public hire bicycles targeted two orthodox charedi members of the Jewish community in Stamford Hill. In the first incident, which occurred close to Morrisons supermarket, they snatched and rode away with the victim’s hat. Later that evening, at approximately 22:30, the same gang targeted another charedi Jewish man. When they were unsuccessful in their attempt to knock the second victim’s hat to the ground, they squirted him with liquid. With the well-publicised rise in acid attacks in the capital, this was extremely alarming for the victim, who said that he attempted to notify the police by dialing 999 but gave up after a lengthy wait for a response. Fortunately the liquid turned out to be water.
The first victim was visited by an officer from the Metropolitan Police Service who, we understand, told him that they would treat the incident as a theft that they expect to be unable to solve, rather than an antisemitic hate crime. The two victims were clearly targeted because of their distinctive appearance. It is therefore surprising that the police have reportedly decided to dismiss religion as an aggravating factor. It is also disappointing, given the prevalence of CCTV in the area, that they have so quickly given up hope of finding the culprits, who would have had to rent their bicycles using traceable credit or debit cards. If anybody has information that might assist the police in identifying these men, they should report it by dialing 101, and e-mailing [email protected].
Both of the victims contacted Stamford Hill Shomrim, a volunteer Jewish neighbourhood watch patrol, which referred the cases to Campaign Against Antisemitism for assistance.
We are raising the matter with the Metropolitan Police Service.