Sunak considers ‘ramping up' police patrols to protect Jewish communities after 'displays of Hamas support'

9 October 2023, 16:23 | Updated: 9 October 2023, 16:28

Rishi Sunak is looking to ramp up police patrols.
Rishi Sunak is looking to ramp up police patrols. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Rishi Sunak is considering a surge in police patrols to protect Jewish communities after reports of people showing support for attacks on Israel by Hamas.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Number 10 has said that it would be “utterly despicable” for anyone to use the conflict between Hamas and Israel as a “pretext” to attack communities in the UK.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly looking to step up the number police patrols in a bid to make sure Jewish communities feel safe.

"We take any threat to the Jewish community extremely seriously,” Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said.

"It would obviously be utterly despicable for this weekend's attacks to be used as some kind of pretext to threaten or to attack communities in the UK.

"The home secretary has already held a meeting with the Community Security Trust to ensure we have taken all steps necessary to ensure our Jewish community feels safe and secure.

"I believe that includes surging police patrols where necessary.

"We want the police to use every available aspect of the law against displays of support for Hamas, other proscribed terrorist groups or attempts to intimidate British Jews."

Popular Kosher restaurant Pita in Golders Green was vandalised overnight.
Popular Kosher restaurant Pita in Golders Green was vandalised overnight. Picture: Getty

It comes after pictures emerged from Golders Green on Monday morning which showed the front doors of popular Kosher restaurant Pita vandalised with reports the till had been stolen.

‘Free Palestine’ graffiti had been daubed on a nearby railway bridge. It is not clear if the graffiti and vandalism are linked.

Scotland Yard said it is not treating the incident as a hate crime.

A spokesman said: “Police were called at approximately 06:10hrs on Monday, 9 October to reports of a burglary and damage caused to a restaurant in Golders Green Road, NW11.

"It was reported that a cash register had been stolen.

"Officers have attended the scene and examined CCTV at the location. There has been no arrest and enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.

"At this stage, the incident is not being treated as a hate crime."

The Met Police said it had been made aware of a number of incidents in the capital in connection with the conflict, with protests also planned in the coming days.

Read more: Hamas says it's 'not frightened' by the US moving aircraft carrier to Israel, as conflict deepens

Read more: Kosher restaurant in Golders Green vandalised as Met police step up patrols in London

'Free Palestine' graffiti was spotted on a nearby railway bridge to the restaurant - it is not clear if the graffiti and vandalism are linked.
'Free Palestine' graffiti was spotted on a nearby railway bridge to the restaurant - it is not clear if the graffiti and vandalism are linked. Picture: Alamy

Dave Rich, from Jewish safety charity the Community Security Trust, said: "This graffiti is a deliberate attempt to intimidate the Jewish community.

"It is disgraceful and should be roundly condemned by all sides. We expect the police to fully investigate because this cannot be allowed to continue."

Mr Sunak is set to hold an emergency COBRA meeting on Monday due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that has killed more than 700 Israelis. Officials in Gaza have reported at least 500 Palestinian deaths.

"We already have a very longstanding relationship with Israel, we're one of their strongest allies," Mr Sunak said on Monday.

"We've provided in the past the kinds of equipment that they've used to defend themselves over the past couple of days, and as I said to the prime minister, we will continue to provide - whether that's diplomatic, intelligence or security support - as they need.

"I'm chairing a COBRA [meeting] with my ministerial colleagues this afternoon, when we'll continue to discuss the situation, but we're in close dialogue with our Israeli counterparts.”

On Sunday the Metropolitan Police announced it was stepping up patrols in London amid reports of people celebrating the attack on Israel by Hamas.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “We are aware of a number of incidents, including those that have been shared on social media, in relation to the ongoing conflict in Israel and the border with Gaza.

“The Met has increased policing patrols across parts of London in order to provide a visible presence and reassurance to our communities.

“We remain in contact with partners and community leaders to listen to any concerns.

“Anyone who experiences threatening behaviour or is worried about their safety is urged to contact police.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Released prisoner

Israeli military confirms release of six more hostages in Gaza Strip

Hamas has claimed Israel is refusing to take back the bodies of the Bibas family

Hamas releases propaganda video of father of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas saying Israel is refusing to take his family's bodies

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans

Three officers injured as Polish football fans unleash 'planned and systematic violence' on police ahead of Aston Villa game

William and Kate dazzled on the red carpet as they brushed off Scobie's claims

William and Kate all smiles on red carpet as royals brush aside storm around Omid Scobie's book Endgame

Opec sign

Saudi Arabia extends cut in oil it sends to world in bid to boost prices

Exclusive
An 18-month row over pay, job security and conditions has come to an end, for now

'Provoke us again and we will respond in kind': Mick Lynch issues new threat to government after pay deal halts strikes

Matt Hancock appeared at the Covid inquiry on Thursday

Cummings a 'malign actor' and 'missed opportunities': 11 revelations from Matt Hancock's Covid inquiry appearance

Phillip Hancock

Man executed in Oklahoma over double killing in 2001

Milei has backed his country's claim to the Falklands

Britain 'stands firmly' with Falkland Islands as minister pays visit in fresh warning to Argentina's eccentric president

Matt Hancock gave evidence on Thursday.

Matt Hancock insists he is 'no liar' as he blames 'toxic culture' in No10 for Covid failings

Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip

Tough talks ahead as Gaza ceasefire holds with more hostages freed

Caolan Gormley was convicted of an offence linked to the deaths of the 39 Vietnamese migrants

Last people smuggler in operation linked to deaths of 39 migrants in Essex lorry jailed for seven years

Mia Schem was released today, with her mother Keren filmed reacting in joy

Baying mob screams at two female hostages released by Hamas, as young captive's mother sobs in joy

Jamie Lynn Spears exited the I'm A Celebrity jungle on medical grounds

Jamie Lynn Spears speaks out after I'm A Celebrity exit after departing jungle on 'medical grounds'

Donald Trump

Gag order barring Trump from maligning court staff in fraud trial reinstated

The caller is heard saying, “I don't think there's anything you can do for her, I really don't think there is."

'Blood on her legs and back': Desperate 999 call made by dog walker who found Brianna Ghey’s body after stabbing