London police make 75 arrests linked to Israel-Gaza conflict as hate crime spikes

Anti-Semitic offences in October have risen by more than 1,300 per cent

Police have appealed for information about three women, pictured, who took part in a pro-Palestine protest in London on October 14. PA
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Police in London have made 75 arrests related to the Israel-Gaza conflict in recent weeks, amid soaring rates of hate crime in the UK capital.

Between October 1 and 27, police recorded 408 anti-Semitic offences, compared to just 28 in the same period last year, representing a rise of 1,357 per cent.

Incidences of Islamophobia have also risen, albeit at a lower rate, with 174 offences from October 1 to 27, compared to 65 last year.

Commander Kyle Gordon, who is in charge of overall policing in London this weekend, told a briefing on Friday that police “continue to ruthlessly deal with any acts of hate crime that they encounter in our communities”.

“Since the start of the [Israel-Gaza] conflict we have made 75 [linked] arrests.”

He said police have stepped up patrols and visits to “vulnerable premises” in the capital.

“We want all Londoners, no matter who they are, to feel safe in our city. Over the last three weeks we have made 4,960 visits to vulnerable premises, including 730 schools and around 3,400 religious premises.

“This week we visited the Central London Mosque to discuss the ongoing impact of elements and events on London’s Muslim community.”

Arrests were made for a range of offences, including public order and affray, during last week’s protest in support of Palestinians, he said.

Commander Gordon was speaking ahead of another large planned protest this Saturday organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

In total, around 2,000 officers will be on the streets of London policing that protest and other events.

He refused to say whether specific chants will be considered an offence, but said the force will be working with specialists in Arabic language and culture to assess whether an offence has occurred.

He added that the commissioner and others “have been clear that these phrases mean different things to different people” and they have to be taken in their individual circumstances.

Pro-Palestinian protests in London – in pictures

Police also appealed for information about people they are seeking in relation to their investigations.

They include two women who took part in a protest on October 14 wearing images of paragliders on their tops.

Police are also seeking to identify a man who carried a placard with the words “I fully support Hamas” while taking part in a protest on Bond Street on October 21.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 2:41 PM