Hague’s regret as terrified Jewish community steps up security

William Hague MP, H&K Conservative parliamentary candidate Simon Marcus with JW3 CEO Raymond Simonso

William Hague MP, H&K Conservative parliamentary candidate Simon Marcus with JW3 CEO Raymond Simonson during a visit to the Finchley Road centre on 12.01.15. - Credit: Archant

Former Tory leader William Hague pays tribute to community in visit to JW3

Former Conservative party leader William Hague has spoken of his sadness that the North-West London Jewish community are having to step up security in the wake of the Paris tragedy.

Leader of the House of Commons Mr Hague was visiting the JW3 Jewish community and arts centre, in Swiss Cottage, when he heard managers there were holding an urgent meeting to review security following the bloody massacre.

Meanwhile heightened patrols were also being launched in nearby Golders Green and Temple Fortune in fear of a copy cat attack after the four French Jewish hostages died in a seige on a Paris kosher store.

Mr Hague said: “Sadly an institution like JW3 has to spend a lot more on security than an equivalent one that is not Jewish. It is very sad that that is true. I look forward to when that is no longer the case, but the reality is that extra security is needed.”

When asked about the safety of the Jewish community in the constituency, he said: “We will work hard, the security agencies and the government, to keep everybody safe. But that requires the participation of all communities to give a strong lead, to show terrorism is the wrong way. More will need to be done to do that.”

“We have to be very clear across all political parties that we are against antisemitism,” he added.

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JW3 chief exectuive Raymond Simonson said: “Right now we are on a high state of alert and are meeting later today I cannot give operational details.

“This is one of the only community centres in London which spends what we have to spend on security. We consult regularly with police. We have to take it very seriously.”

A few miles away in Golders Green and Temple Fortune, police vans were patrolling the area, while members of the Community Security Trust - a charity established to combat threats to the Jewish community - were walking around the neighbourhood.

Rivki Rokach, a manager at Kosher Kingdom supermarket in Golders Green Road, said management was putting into place new security measures, but declined to specify.

She said that although customers were still coming in to shop, they were feeling uneasy: “People are in a bit of panic mode...we are doing everything we can to make sure people are comfortable.”

The Community Security Trust posted a message on its Twitter feed on Friday which said that Chief Superintendent Adrian Usher, Barnet Borough Commander in north London, “has promised extra patrols for Jewish community of Barnet over Shabbat”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force does not release details of specific operations, but added: “We regularly have conversations with communities across the board about policing issues.”

Mr Hague was in Hampstead and Kilburn to show support for Conservative parliamentary candidate Simon Marcus.

After his visit to JW3, he said: “It’s a very impressive centre. I do want to pay tribute to everything that’s been achieved here so far. I think it’s very exciting, the way that JW3 manages to bring together not only many parts of the Jewish community but people from all parts of the local community. It’s tremendous.”