Barbara said in the House of Commons that Greater Manchester Police are leading the way in the fight against anti-Semitism.
Greater Manchester has the second largest Jewish population in the UK after London. The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported for Greater Manchester increased in 2007 but Barbara Keeley concluded that this was because local police are leading the way in recording and tackling anti-Semitic and hate crime.
Barbara was part of a cross-party group of MPs who held a Parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism in the UK . The MPs' inquiry report was published in 2006 and it urged the Government to improve the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents and prosecution of perpetrators. Barbara Keeley praised the work of Greater Manchester Police on this issue and called on other areas to follow their example.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate to mark the Government’s year-on progress report on tackling anti-Semitism, Barbara said:
“Greater Manchester Police are exemplary in recording and monitoring anti-Semitic incidents and in co-operating with the Community Security Trust…The slight increase [in the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents] in 2007 should be seen not as a sign that things are getting worse in Greater Manchester but that more incidents are being reported. That is to be welcomed, because understanding the problem through accurate data is an important step forward.”
“Not only have we in Greater Manchester got better at reporting such crimes but we also have more prosecutions…I hope the example Greater Manchester police have set in working with the Jewish community and co-operating with the Community Security Trust is followed through.”
Barbara also welcomed extra provision to provide security to Jewish schools which can be the target of hate crime. When they visited King David school in Manchester as part of the inquiry, MPs saw that heavy security measures such as security guards, anti-shatter glass and regular bomb drills were needed. These measures were all paid for by parents, but the Government has since made capital funding available for local authorities to protect schools where security is an issue.
"The provision of funding for the security needed by some schools is very important as it was one of the key recommendations of the inquiry . Overall, there has been real progress in terms of the Government’s response to our recommendations over the last 12 months. The work of the inquiry and the all-party group provides a solid platform in the UK for tackling anti-Semitism. We reaffirm through this work the kind of society we all believe in — one that is just, democratic and tolerant."