1. ITV Report

Headstones smashed in Jewish cemetery

Photo: MEN Syndication

Nearly 70 headstones have been damaged at a Jewish cemetery Greater Manchester.

Dozens of graves have been desecrated in a spate of attacks on Urmston Jewish Cemetery, leaving relatives heartbroken and causing up to £50,000 of damage. Police say they are treating the attacks, the latest of which was this weekend, as ‘hate incidents’.

The grave desecrations come as hate crime figures hit all-time highs, affecting people from across Greater Manchester’s communities. In the city of Manchester itself, hate crime incidents almost doubled from 1,386 to 2,757 - an astonishing 98.9 per cent rise.

Hate crime is used to describe intimidation, harassment, vandalism and violence motivated because of hostility to disability, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or transgender identity.

The biggest increase in these offences, after Manchester, was in Bolton, where the number of hate crimes rose 66 per cent from 356 to 592. Close behind was Trafford, which saw a 61.3 per cent increase from 230 to 371.

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The latest figures were published in a report to Salford councillors called ‘Hate Crime Together We Can End It’.

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry, Greater Manchester Police’s tactical lead on hate crime, said police were ‘absolutely committed’ to tackling it and urged victims to contact them straightaway. He said that the increase was ‘in line with the national picture as a result of changes to the way that forces record such crime’, as well as the result of victims being encouraged to come forward.

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“It’s also important to remember the impact that national and international events can have on this issue”, he said. “We saw an increase in reports of hate crime after the attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017. That increase did reduce and what was apparent was the fantastic way in which our communities came together in the aftermath.”

– Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry