Thousands of marchers in London today are set to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. But police chiefs would not commit to detaining on the spot any Hamas-backing extremists who again call for “jihad” against Israel.
Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson said: “The Met’s job is to arrest people who incite terrorist violence. “The Met police state Jihad has many meanings. Their bosses must be the only people in the UK not to know what meaning is being used.
“They need to get a grip of this hatred on our streets.”
Scotland Yard has been told to “get a grip” on the hatred taking over Britain’s streets ahead of a major pro-Palestinian protest.
Tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators will march through central London calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
But Met Police chiefs have refused to commit to making on-the-spot arrests of any Hamas-supporting extremists who call for “jihadi” against Israel.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted last night that extremism will be “tackled head on”.
He said: “I want to be clear: The conflict, born out of Hamas’ terrorism, is no excuse for hate on our streets. Extremism will be tackled head on.”
Mr Sunak has been clear that he believes police already have the powers they need to arrest protesters inciting hatred.
Scotland Yard said there will be an “intervention” if protesters chant jihad but said arrests would depend on a “myriad of circumstances”.
Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, who is also a member of the Home Affairs select committee, warned police must not ignore offenders.
He said: “The Met’s job is to arrest people who incite terrorist violence.“The Met police state Jihad has many meanings. Their bosses must be the only people in the UK not to know what meaning is being used.
“They need to get a grip of this hatred on our streets.” Tory MP Marco Longhi, who sits on the Home Affairs committee, expressed incredulity comparing the approach to the way Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a woman who was arrested for silent prayer outside an abortion clinic.
He said: “I find it amazing that the Police would penalise a woman standing in silence, while allowing behaviours that are offensive, incite violence and cause community division. I just don’t get it.”
Around 100,000 protesters took part in the pro-Palestinian demonstration in the capital last weekend, with a similar number expected to attend the event.
A video subsequently emerged of a protester chanting “jihad” but officers said no offences were identified in the footage from the demonstration.
Scotland Yard claimed jihad has “a number of meanings” but said officers had spoken to the man to discourage the chanting.
Of the nine arrests from last Saturday’s protest, just one individual was arrested on suspicion of making racist comments.
But the protests have caused widespread fear among members of Britain’s Jewish community.
Actor Tracy-Ann Oberman, who is Jewish, hit out at Scotland Yard over its approach.
She said: “Just been told by a Metropolitan Police officer they can’t arrest anybody at these hate marches in London because there are too many haters.
“It’s better to gather intelligence and evidence later. Anyone else feeling like they’ve been thrown under a bus?”
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has clashed with ministers over how to police pro-Palestine protesters using the phrase jihad.
He said that laws may need to be redrawn, amid concerns about gaps in current anti-extremism legislation.
Kyle Gordon, who is leading the Met Police’s command team, refused to address “hypotheticals” ahead of the mammoth protest – despite outrage at similar vile calls being made by protestors last weekend.
Instead he said there would be “intervention” but said arrests would depend on a “myriad of circumstances”
He said: “If somebody is calling for Jihad, specifically against Israel, the officers will intervene and gather information and report it back to us and colleagues in counter terrorism – who are in the command suite with me – in relation to what the best course of action is.”
When pressed on specific calls he continued: “Again you’ll forgive me but hypotheticals don’t take into account the myriad of circumstances that may exist at the time.”
ommander Gordon said thousands of officers would be on duty today to take action on anyone committing crimes and said “Wherever possible, we will police right up to the line of the law.”
He added: “I have been absolutely clear with my teams and colleagues that we will be really responsive where we see criminality taking place. I want to be clear that we will not tolerate hate crime in this city.
“We will take action so that people can live in this city free from fear and hate.”
Despite the huge crowds expected the force said it would not be using facial recognition technology or AI capabilities to spot any wrongdoers amongst the Palestine Solidarity Campaign march.
There has been a surge in hate crime in recent weeks across Britain, with London and its large Jewish community bearing the brunt.
The Met yesterday confirmed there have been 408 recorded antisemitic offences in the capital between October 1 and 27, compared to just 28 in the same period last year.
In that time there have been 174 Islamophobic offences compared to 65 in the same period in 2022.
The force has so far made 75 arrests linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Meanwhile, officers have made 4,960 visits to vulnerable premises in the capital, including 730 schools and around 3,400 religious places in the last three weeks.
It has also been revealed that UK counter terrorism officers are in Israel supporting the Foreign Office over the deaths of British nationals after Hamas attackers entered the country earlier this month.
There are also 10 counter terrorism investigations linked to internet-related breaches of the Terrorism Act.
Ben Jamal, the PSC director, said ahead of today’s rally protest there had been attempts ”to demonise those who are marching” and criticised the home secretary for suggesting that the police should look with suspicion at anybody raising the flag of Palestine.