A Metropolitan Police officer stands on duty
Metropolitan Police reveals religious hate crimes data from police forces across the UK which shows a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents in the urban areas while Islamophobic incidents have increased over a varied area. TOBY MELVILLE/Reuters

A study of antisemitic hate crime cases in the UK has revealed an unprecedented spike in the number of hate crimes against the Jewish community since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Hamas-Israel conflict along the Gaza Strip.

The UK's largest police force, the Metropolitan Police, has seen a record number of hate crimes against News in the last three months of 2023, revealed new figures.

This vindicated initial reports by the Jewish charitable organisation that the attacks on Jews in Britain tripled in the week after the Hamas attack on Israel, which forced many Jewish schools to close down and restrict the activities of students.

The Met Police data also revealed an increase in Islamophobic incidents along with antisemitic activities which shows the complex nature of the problem.

According to Metropolitan Police, 218 antisemitic incidents and 101 Islamophobic incidents happened in the UK between October 1 to 18 which is a sharp rise for 15 antisemitic and 42 Islamophobic incidents in 2022.

This data is collected from a study of responses from 31 out of 46 police forces in the UK, which shows the large-scale extent of the problem. The Met Police said delays prevented them from supplying the full report until the new year.

The report underlined that antisemitic hate crimes weren't consistently reported across all the police forces in the UK, resulting in comparable differences in overall number of incidents across the country.

However, there's a significant spike in hate crimes against the Jewish community in cities and built-up areas whereas Islamophobic incidents were varied.

This was best observed in police forces operating in urban and semi-rural areas where the pattern of the hate crime was identifiable. The Hertfordshire Police recorded 17 antisemitic incidents in 2023 compared to six in 2022 and three in 2021, while the Thames Valley Police has seen 21 antisemitic incidents in 2023 compared to one in 2022 and four in 2021.

Smaller forces with fewer towns and cities in their jurisdiction saw fewer hate crimes, often amounting to single figures. This skewed data is making it hard to determine the trend.

Reacting to the report, the UK Home Office condemned the increase in antisemitic activities, saying: "There is no place for hate in our society and we condemn the recent rise in reported antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred."

"We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to make sure the cowards who commit these abhorrent offences feel the full force of the law," said the Home Office.

"Following recent events, we have also made further funding available to Jewish and Muslim communities, to provide additional security at places of worship and faith schools," the Home Office added.

The Home Office further highlighted the uncertainty regarding the matter as the anti-semitic threat is rising from both left and right.

Meanwhile, the Community Security Trust has termed the new figures as "shocking". According to them, it shows "the extent of the unacceptable rise in anti-Jewish hatred across the country since the Hamas terror attack on October 7".

While anti-Muslim abuse activists termed the Islamophobic incidents data as "deeply worrying", Jewish charities called the rise in antisemitism "shocking".

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the report provides "further evidence of the huge upsurge in antisemitism following the Hamas massacre of October 7".

The Board which handles 300 deputies from the British Jewish community said the rise in antisemitism has "caused enormous anxiety for Jewish people, particularly children and Jewish students on campus or indeed anyone easily identified as Jewish by their dress".

The board has urged the police to take strong action against people committing these hate crimes.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain said: "Despite the extremely low reporting rate from Muslim communities, the huge increase in Islamophobic hate crimes recorded with the police reflects what we are seeing from third-party reporting groups."

"The government's laissez-faire attitude to Islamophobia contrasts strongly with its no-tolerance approach to antisemitism. We are hopeful this will now change," the Muslim Council added.