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Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what legal provisions are in place to prevent (a) the preaching of hatred and (b) incitement to commit criminal acts against the Jewish community in England and Wales; how many persons have been (i) prosecuted and (ii) convicted of offences under such provisions in each of the last two years for which figures are available, broken down by (A) age of offender, (B) sex of offender and (C) police force area of charge; and if she will make a statement. (247788)

The use of threatening words with the intention of stirring up religious hatred constitutes an offence under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and would apply in the case of such threats used in respect of the Jewish community.

Section 18 of the Public Order Act 1986 which relates to stirring up hatred on racial grounds would also apply, as Jews are considered to be a racial group. This section states that a person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words commits an offence if he intends to stir up racial hatred, or having regards to all the circumstances, racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.

In addition, sections 44-46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 relate to offences of assisting and encouraging crime. These offences can apply in respect of any offence, including those targeted against the Jewish community.

The statistics collected in relation to these offences do not include information which would allow the separate identification of offences committed against the Jewish community and this detailed breakdown is therefore not available.