Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Belgium and around the world, senior counter-terror officers have warned of a ‘heightened’ concern around the potential risk to certain groups including those working in policing and members of the Jewish and Israeli community. This has been much publicised across the national media during the past few days.
I am writing this as an open letter to ask all key leaders and people of influence across every faith in Bedfordshire, to join us in redoubling our efforts to wipe out any prejudice which could jeopardise the safety of those living in, working in, or visiting Bedfordshire.
The vast majority of our communities wish to live in peace alongside neighbours of all faiths. A small few threaten this way of life and we must work together to identify these individuals, to challenge their rhetoric and to reject all forms of hate which risks compromising the safety of our communities. Bedfordshire is fortunate enough to have a richly diverse population mix and we will continue to work closely with people across all faiths to promote a cohesive society.
As well as working with our communities, we will be working closely with our law enforcement partners across local, regional, national and international boundaries to work together to protect people and keep Bedfordshire safe. We will be stepping up patrols in key areas and will be increasing presence, particularly in our Jewish and Muslim communities. Support from community groups and partners is vital to ensuring that we appropriately and effectively problem solve local issues and we look for your support in helping to prevent any form of antisemitism or islamophobia during this time of increased concern.
The UK has been at a heightened threat level for international terrorism for a considerable time and indeed the national threat level was raised last summer to ‘Severe’ indicating that a terrorist attack is highly likely. We anticipate that this will be a long-term status as the threat from terrorism is not likely to abate any time soon.
Any suspected hate crime incidents of Islamophobia or antisemitism should be reported to the police on 101, along with any concerns around individuals or groups suspected of wanting to cause harm to our communities. Always dial 999 in cases of emergency.
Please help us to promote cohesive communities by tagging your online communications with #communitiestogether
Very kind regards
Colette Paul QPM BA (Hons)