Jewish community leaders have warned that a new hotline planned by the Mayor of London for reporting hate crime may be “an unhelpful duplication”.
Details of the mayor’s reporting facility for the capital’s minorities, due to be unveiled in October, were revealed by the Guardian.
However, a Board of Deputies spokesman said: “Between the police and the CST, we believe that there are sufficient reporting mechanisms for anti-Semitism and despite the good intentions, an additional hotline might be an unhelpful duplication.”
He added: “We welcome, however, the Mayor’s commitment to tackling hate crime and his willingness to put resources behind it. We would be happy to look at other ways that the Greater London Authority could contribute to the fight against prejudice, particularly around hate on social media.”
Richard Benson, a deputy and former CST chief executive, agreed, saying: “Communities feel more comfortable when they are victims of a hate crime to report the issue to somebody within that community who understands them.”
However, the planned hotline was welcomed by Shomrim, whose North West branch spokesman Gary Ost said: “We embrace any hotline which encourages victims to come forward.”
Volunteer force Shomrim, which comprises two groups in Golders Green and Stamford Hill, takes about 3,500 calls a year, and Ost said he did not expect the new London line to affect numbers.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said: “We know that these offences are still significantly under-reported and that is why the mayor is committed to making it easier for victims to come forward.”