HC Deb 19 May 2003 vol 405 c636W
Linda Perham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps he has taken to tackle anti-Semitic crime. [112542]

Beverley Hughes

The Government are fully committed to tackling anti-Semitism and racism generally wherever it occurs. Under part III of the Public Order Act 1986 it is an offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent or likelihood to stir up racial hatred. It therefore covers inflammatory comments made in public or in the media as well as the distribution of printed material. The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 increased the maximum penalty for incitement to racial hatred from two to seven years' imprisonment.

The investigation of possible breaches of these laws is an operational matter for the police and then the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue.

Police forces continue to be alert to crimes being committed against members of Jewish communities and take appropriate steps to safeguard officials, places of worship, community centres and other premises. The police act in accordance with the publication "Breaking the Power of Fear and Hate" which is a guide to identifying and combating hate crime.