The story of the CST: Jewish community protection in the UK

The story of the CST: Jewish community protection in the UK

Police Partols copy copy


I began my career with CST in the mid 1980s as a security volunteer, before we were even a registered charity.CST 2015 Dinner David Cameron 13173

Since then, I have been proud to play my part in helping CST to become one of our community’s leading organisations: first as a full-time member of CST’s security department in London, then as the Director of our Northern Regions office in Manchester, and now as Chief Executive back in our London office.

It is my privilege to lead and represent CST, from the thousands of tireless volunteers, to our staff, trustees and many funders. I thank all of you who make this work possible, including our community for all of its vital co-operation with our work.

Sadly, the first weeks of 2015 showed exactly why CST does its work. Attacks in Paris and Copenhagen were dreadful reminders that the two threats of antisemitism and terrorism will not end any time soon. Now, we face the challenge of meeting this reality, which will endure for the foreseeable future.

We need our community to support us in this effort, so I ask that you read this Jewish News supplement and see how you can play your part.

Thank you.



Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 17.30.46

1936 was the start of Jewish defence in the UK, when Oswald Mosley’s fascists were beaten back at the Battle of Cable Street. Post-WW2, the 43 Group, 62 Group and the Jewish Aid Committee of Britain (JACOB) continued the tradition of standing up to fascism and antisemitism.

The 43 group
The 43 group

The first of these – The 43 Group – was formed by returning Jewish ex-servicemen, who were dismayed to find that Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts had re-grouped after the war under a different name, and were once again harassing Jews on the streets.

The second of these – The 62 Group – was formed 20 years later, when supporters of Colin Jordan’s National Socialist Movement and Spearhead, began to attack British synagogues.

A demonstrator is taken away under arrest by police officers after a mounted baton charge, in East London, on Oct. 4, 1936, to stop fighting between anti-fascists and Sir Oswald Mosley's blackshirts.
A demonstrator is taken away under arrest by police officers after a mounted baton charge, in East London, on Oct. 4, 1936, to stop fighting between anti-fascists and Sir Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.

In the 1970s, JACOB, GRET and the Association of Jewish ex-servicemen & Women (AJEX) all contributed to the security and defence of the Jewish community.

In 1986, their work was unified as the Community Security Organisation (CSO) of the Board of Deputies and the direct forerunner of CST. Some of the activists in the 62 Group were responsible for the funding, governance and membership of the CSO, which developed solid foundations over the next few years, building a force designed to provide security advice and training for the community, and capable of researching threats to the community.

In 1994 the CSO was granted charitable status and became the Community Security Trust. CST protects Jewish events, funds security at Jewish buildings, supports victims of antisemitism and monitors antisemitic activities and incidents. Written into its founding deeds was also a commitment to help other faith communities, which it continues to do.

Since 1994, CST has received approximately 15,000 reports of antisemitic incidents, hostile reconnaissance, suspicious behaviour and other potential incidents that needed investigation by CST staff and volunteers.Police Partols copy

CST has committed and spent over £5m on the physical security of Jewish buildings across the UK under the Security Enhancement Project. This includes fitting anti-shatter window film to prevent flying glass, and installing fencing, gates, bollards, lighting,

CCTV systems, intruder alarms and fire alarms. Thousands of CST volunteers and other communal activists have received security training from CST. CST’s volunteers are the foundation of its work, coming from every part of the community, regardless of age, gender, religious observance or political belief. Today, CST is viewed by Government, Police and international bodies as a model of best practice for a community security organisation in the UK and around the world.

CST’s annual High Holy Days security operation involves over 1,600 hours of joint CST/Police patrols in areas with larger Jewish communities across the UK. CST’s partnership with Maccabi GB created Streetwise, to enhance the personal development and safety of young Jewish people, serving 20,000 young people per year in many Jewish schools across the country. Streetwise are this year celebrating their 10th anniversary.

CST employs two full-time Student Security Co-ordinators who each year visit 70 university campuses, ensuring that Jewish student events are properly planned and protected. CST is proud of this heritage of Jewish defence and will do all it can to continue to protect our Jewish community now and in the future.

read more: