Arming the Shomrim and your local council vigilantes
In Hendon, north London, a man has been arrested. The 44-year-old is alleged to have stood by Hendon Central Tube station, perfomed a Nazi salute and commanded “let’s kill the Jews”.
A Met spokesman tells the Jewish News:
“Police were called at approximately 13:50hrs on Sunday, 22 February to Central Circus, NW4 following reports of a man allegedly making anti-Semitic comments. Officers attended and a 44-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. He was taken to a north London police station and subsequently bailed pending further enquiries.”
We only know of this because the Shomrim (“guards” in Herbrew) tweeted it:
There are four Shomrim groups in the UK, one operating in around London’s Golders Green, another in the capital’s Stamford Hill and two in Manchester.
Tabby Kinder went on patrol in Stamford Hill:
“People in this part of London call us before the police in an emergency,” Shulem says of their hotline number, which receives between 11 to 15 calls a day. “People know they get an instant response from Shomrim, and in most cases we’ll be there way before the police because we’re so local – usually in around 40 seconds, whereas the police have their fastest response target at around 15 minutes…
The patrols are supported by Hatzola, an ambulance service run by Jewish volunteers with emergency medical technician training. “Our ambulance service is much faster as well,” claims Shulem. “They get to the scene of an incident in three minutes. The London Ambulance target is eight minutes….
“It’s no secret that the police are stretched and officers are tied up with paperwork instead of being able to patrol the streets,” says Shulem. “Even before the cuts, Shomrim has been a simple addition to the police. We have been brought up locally, live locally, work locally and drive up and down these streets every day. We know the regular faces – the goodies and the baddies.”
In 2010, the Independent began it’s story on the all-male volunteer Shomrim with the headline:
Justice on London’s streets, the Jewish way
Are the police in favour?
When the group was established in 2008, Supt Steve Dann, the then Hackney commander, said: “I am very upset that no-one has approached me about this. It has been done behind my back. I see this as a slight against me that we were not delivering a service.”
He might take offence at the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (more on that later). But is the emergence of the Shomrim a reflected that the Jewish community doesn’t believe they’re going to be protected by the police?
The Metropolitan Police is not keen on the suggestion that their services require supplementation. Senior officers have voiced concern over the group’s existence, insisting that trained police officers and no one else should attempt to deal with crimes in progress.
Hackney’s borough commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, said: “Whilst I have a great amount of respect for the Orthodox Jewish Community within Hackney, I do not support the concept of any community having its own form of patrol service. There is a risk of other communities feeling intimidated by this course of action.
“There is also an issue of members putting themselves at physical risk through attending an escalating situation, interfering with possible evidence or potentially risking criminal prosecution themselves, should their conduct in dealing with members of the public justify that course of action.”
But this isn’t the self-styled Muslim Patrol who wandered parts of East London enforcing their own laws:
Three members of a self-styled “Muslim Patrol” vigilante group have been jailed for harassing, intimidating and assaulting people on the streets of east London while claiming they were enforcing sharia law.
A judge at the Old Bailey had heard that Jordan Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 26, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons, had terrorised a couple for walking through Bethnal Green holding hands, told a woman in Stepney that she would be punished in “hellfire” because of the way she was dressed, and attacked a group of men who were drinking in Shoreditch.
The Shomrim will not jump you for eating a pork bap in public.
Nor will they offer you booze, as the ‘Christian Patrol’ has:
A group with links to the British National Party is holding “Christian Patrols” in the East End to defend what it calls British soil against Muslim extremists…
Nationalist group Britain First drove into Brick Lane in two armoured Gulf War Land Rovers on Friday with leaflets warning of “Muslim Patrols” in the area.
The group drew the opprobrium of the Bishop of Stepney, who said there was “no place” for them in Tower Hamlets.
Britain First’s chairman, Paul Golding, formerly a senior figure in the BNP, said he hoped to “draw out” Muslim extremists using cigarettes and beer as “bait”.
Michael Levy, the Conservative Party councillor for the Springfield ward, adds:
“The police are understandably nervous because it is a new organisation but they will soon pick it up and realise that the group is a benefit and can help to drive down crime. It is a valuable service and will be able to augment the police service.
“The police encourage neighbourhoods to have a neighbourhood watch service and I cannot see a great deal of difference between that and this, apart from the fact that this is active rather than static. But that is a good thing because it will inevitably provide a great deal of intelligence for the police service.”
The Mail says the Met is now in favour.
Orthodox organisation, which works closely with the Metropolitan Police, tweeted from their @shomrimlondon account: ‘Following events in Paris we will have on extra patrols throughout NW London over Shabbos [ the Jewish sabbath].’
Shomrim volunteers receive police training and uniforms, including knife-proof vests.
But the Shomrim do more than just help old ladies cross the street. Bernath can’t resist invoking the time in 2007 that the Borough Park Shomrim helped nab a gang of burglars who posed as water inspectors to get into the apartments of the elderly and trusting. The thieves had been on a tear through Brooklyn.
“The police, due to our great relationship, told us about this,” Bernath says. “We found out about it on a Wednesday. On the Friday, we get a call over our hotline: ‘We think these are the guys.'”
Making use of their unmarked cars, the Shomrim followed the van in question throughout the neighborhood for five or six hours, but it never made any suspicious moves. Finally, Bernath says, five men got out and entered a building. The Shomrim called the precinct commander, and when the men left the building with several apartments’ worth of loot, the cops nabbed them.
“We had a great arrest,” Bernath says. “If not for the Shomrim, it would never have happened.”
The Shomrim are also prepared to put themselves in harm’s way before police arrive.
Last fall, as children filled the streets of Borough Park for a religious celebration, the Shomrim got word that David Flores, suspected of masturbating in front of children in the neighborhood earlier in the day, was still cruising the area in his car. When the Shomrim found him trapped in traffic, Flores fled on foot, carrying a gun. They tackled him, and in the resulting scuffle, four Shomrim members were shot, though none fatally.
Exciting stuff. But that about bias and not always working with the Government?
The most heat the Shomrim took in the aftermath of the Kletzky murder wasn’t for failing to find the boy or for waiting too long to call the cops. It came with the revelation that the Shomrim actually maintain a list of suspected child molesters in the neighborhood that they will not share with police.
“The community doesn’t go to the police with these names because the rabbis don’t let you. It’s not right,” Shomrim coordinator Jacob Daskel told the Daily News shortly after Kletzky’s body was found.
The statement resonated because it placed the Shomrim at the heart of an issue that has been bubbling in the Haredi community for the better part of a decade: a sex- abuse epidemic akin to the far more publi- cized scandal rocking the Catholic Church.
“The Shomrim have helped the police maintain a community that’s mostly free of the shootings in the streets and crimes that usually end up in the media,” says Ben Hirsch, a founder of the advocacy group Survivors for Justice. “But you do still have some of the terrible social crimes that police would normally be responding to. Instead, within these communities, these crimes are usually reported to Shomrim, and the Shomrim coordinators working together with Orthodox Jewish “community liaisons” cover it up, and it never gets to the cops.”
A person can be ordered to leave an area for up to 48 hours if judged to be ‘committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour’;
Issued by police officers or Police Community Support Officers;
No requirement that the area be designated a dispersal zone in advance;
Officer can specify the route for person to leave and can confiscate any item ‘that could be used to commit anti-social behaviour’;
Violation is a criminal offence, up to level 4 fine and 3 months in prison.
Civil injunctions (replace ASBOs)
Injunction can be issued if person ‘has engaged or threatens to engage in anti-social behaviour’;
Issued in Magistrate’s Court, on application by state agency (eg, council, police, NHS Protect, Environment Agency);
Injunction can require the individual to do specified things, or not to do specified things, for the purpose of preventing the individual ‘from engaging in anti-social behaviour’;
Anti-social behaviour is defined as behaviour causing ‘harassment, alarm and distress’ (outside of social housing); or in social housing, as behaviour causing ‘nuisance and annoyance’;
Case proven on balance of probabilities;
Violation is civil offence, prosecuted as contempt of court which carries an unlimited fine and maximum two years’ prison sentence.
Community Protection Notice (CPN)
CPN can be issued if the conduct of an individual or body is judged to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life of those in the locality’;
CPN can require people to stop doing specified things or to do specified things;
Can be issued by council and police officers;
Officers can seize items ‘used in the commission of the offence of failing to comply with a CPN’, such as ‘sound-making equipment’;
Issuing of notice must be proceeded by warning, either written or a ‘pre-agreed form of words’ that can be used by the officer on the spot;
Violation is a criminal offence;
Punished by £100 on-the-spot fine, or by prosecution.
And how have these on-the-spot powers been used?
Poole Council has obtained an order prohibiting street drinking and begging.
Norwich City Council to ban skateboarding and rollerskating in parts of the city centre.
Bath City Council joins Birmingham in threatening to use Public Spaces Protection Orders to prohibit busking. Canterbury City Council also threatens a crack-down on busking, including confiscating buskers’ instruments.
Blackpool Council plans to use the powers to ban inappropriate dress.
Lincoln City Council plans to ban the consumption of legal highs in the city centre.
Can you spot the real vigilantes?
Oxford City councillor Sam Hollick says:
“These powers are too wide-ranging. The definition for what is antisocial is far too broad and I would worry about these orders being misused. It could lead to council staff feeling they can police what they feel is ‘appropriate’ behaviour. But it is important to remember the police already have powers to deal with criminal behaviour. I would also worry that this could see homeless people removed from the city centre. The council should rein in these powers and agree to only use them after a public consultation.”
North East Lincolnshire Council’s antisocial behaviour co-ordinator discussed the new powers to evict tenants and close premises. He said: ‘Some of these measures are quite draconian and could have a significant effect on the council. Quite where the money comes from is a massive issue. In certain areas you could probably evict half a street.’
So. Are we for or are we not in favour of the Shomrim?
And should they be armed?
One US writer wants them to be:
It’s no secret that one of the largest blocs of people pressing for so-called “gun control” is the culturally (aka not-so-religious) American Jewish community. This confounds many observers who would expect that Jews, with such a stunning history of oppression and murder by humanity’s villains, would cling tenaciously to personal firearms and the ability to protect themselves as the Hebrew Scriptures instruct.
In reaction to the Holocaust, American Jews adopted the phrase “Never Again!” If actions mean anything, they don’t believe it. That’s for someone else to do. How do Jews expect to put teeth behind the words “Never Again!” if not with the ability to apply and project personal force when righteous — and necessary — for survival?