Anti-Semitic hate crimes 'rise to record levels'

Credit: PA

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen to record levels in the UK, new figures show.

The Community Security Trust, a charity which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide during 2016.

This was a 36% increase on 2015 and surpasses the previous highest annual tally of 1,182 in 2014.

The charity said there is no obvious single cause for the record number in last year.

The report said previously record high hate crime levels "have been caused by anti-Semitic reactions to sudden, specific 'trigger events' leading to temporary 'spikes' in incidents".

It added that rather than a single, sudden event causing the 2016 record total, it is "probably due to the cumulative effect of a series of events and factors that, taken together, have created an atmosphere in which the number of incidents recorded by CST has remained high over a sustained period of time".

The study found these included, allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, a perceived increase in racism and xenophobia following the EU referendum and regular high-profile discussion of anti-Semitism, racism and hate crime.

It added: "These factors are likely to have contributed to more anti-Semitic incidents occurring, and to a greater level of reporting of those incidents to CST and the police."

The Home Secretary says £13.4 million is being provided by the Government to protect Jewish sites. Credit: AP

The most common single type of incident involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public.

Chief executive of the CST, David Delew said: "Whilst Jewish life in this country remains overwhelmingly positive, this heightened level of anti-Semitism is deeply worrying and it appears to be getting worse.

"Worst of all is that, for various reasons, some people clearly feel more confident to express their anti-Semitism publicly than they did in the past."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd described anti-Semitism as a "deplorable form of hatred" and said the Government is providing £13.4 million to protect Jewish sites.

She said: "It is vital we ensure the safety and security of our Jewish community and this Government will continue to do all we can to stamp out these vile attacks and encourage those who experience them to come forward."