A new poll has suggested that almost half of the British public believes that the police have a problem with antisemitism.
Left Foot Forward commissioned Savanta: ComRes to ask the public to what extent they thought that the police in general have a problem with antisemitism. 46 percent of respondents said that they did believe that the police have a problem with antisemitism, compared with 29 precent who said that they did not. A quarter of respondents said that they did not know.
Seventeen percent of respondents said that they thought that the police had a “significant” problem with antisemitism.
Geographically, 56 percent of Londoners – the highest proportion of any region – believed that police had a problem with antisemitism, with over half of respondents agreeing in Scotland, Wales and the North West.
Six in ten 2019 Labour and Liberal Democrat voters also agreed, compared to just over four in ten (42 percent) of Conservative voters.
Whilst concern about antisemitism in the police is high, concerns about problems with racism, sexism and class bias are even higher.
A spokesperson for the Home Office reportedly said: “We are clear that any form of prejudice in policing is unacceptable and the Government remains committed with police leaders to address these issues and keep our communities safe. Allegations of racism including antisemitism should be treated extremely seriously by the police and any allegations of misconduct aggravated by discrimination must be referred immediately to the IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct]. We are working closely with the police to deliver the diverse police workforce that our communities need.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s latest Antisemitism Barometer showed that 40 percent of British Jews do not believe that the police do enough to protect them. Still, the police are the most trusted branch of the criminal justice system among British Jews, with the courts and Crown Prosecution Service coming in for greater criticism.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “These are sobering figures that tally extraordinarily closely with how the Jewish community itself feels about the police. Our research has shown that four in ten British Jews do not believe that the police do enough to protect them. Jewish confidence in the police is not helped by revelations of police officers affiliated to neo-Nazi groups or who participate in racist WhatsApp groups. Nor is it boosted by questionable policy decisions, such as the Met’s refusal to prohibit a second ‘Free Palestine’ convoy to drive through London earlier this year, even after the first convoy was involved in wholesale harassment of Jewish neighbourhoods and numerous antisemitic hate crimes.
“This poll shows that, while the Jewish community is indebted to our police forces for the immense good that they do, our concerns with shortcomings in British policing are registering with the wider public. We hope that this will lead to the changes we need.”
Recently, an officer in the Metropolitan Police was convicted and imprisoned for being a member of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, while the Met is also investigating multiple police officers over their participation in antisemitic protests whilst in uniform.
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 almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.