Dear community members,
I am writing to you to share our plans to keep our communities safe during the next few weeks. I would stress that there is no credible information to suggest that there is any criminal activity planned against Muslims.
However, I am aware of concerns circulating in the community about some correspondence that has been widely shared on social media. It is always a difficult task to balance the need to reassure with the desire not to help achieve the aims of the perpetrator of this correspondence by raising fear.
These investigations are being treated as Islamophobic hate crime and co-ordinated by Counter-Terrorism Policing North-East. It is important to note that the legal system treats all hate crime very seriously due to the direct impact it has on victims but also takes account of the indirect effect it has on whole communities. Courts therefore have the power to increase the sentence of anyone convicted of racially or religiously-aggravated hate crime, which includes Islamophobic hate crime.
The concerns expressed to us by community leaders at a meeting on earlier this week at New Scotland Yard are being very carefully considered and have informed our response. We will be encouraging local faith and community networks to take part in a ‘#We Stand Together’ campaign to demonstrate once again that London is a tolerant city, proud and protective of all its diverse communities.
I would urge anyone who receives such a letter, not to handle it or share it on social media but report it immediately to police. That gives us the best possible opportunity of catching the perpetrator. You can also report this or other hate crime to Tell MAMA, who will ensure that reports are brought quickly to our attention. All hate crime reported to police is brought to the immediate attention of a senior police officer, who oversees the initial response. The continuing investigation is then supervised by a senior Detective to ensure that we take every possible opportunity to support the victim and achieve a successful prosecution. We work closely with a number of Muslim community organisations as well as the Association of Muslim Police to understand the impact of Islamophobic hate crime on communities and are continually striving to improve our service.
Please feel confident to continue your daily lives as usual but report anything suspicious to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Ch. Supt. Dave Stringer
MPS lead for community engagement and hate crime.