Campaign Against Antisemitism

Police forced to issue dispersal order after crowd of up to 50 children aged 11-15 subject local Jewish residents to torrent of abuse on Canvey Island

A gang of between 30 to 50 children have reportedly caused police to issue a dispersal order over antisemitic behaviour during Halloween directed at the Jewish community on Canvey Island in Essex. A community of Orthodox charedi Jews from Stamford Hill in London have pioneered a move to establish a new community on the island.

According to the Echo News, on Tuesday evening last week, police invoked powers under the Anti-Social, Crime and Policing Act to issue a dispersal order after reports of a large gang of up to 50 children gathering near the Jewish Centre in Meppell Avenue, and other reports of children gathering in the town centre.

The children, believed to be aged between 11 and 15, all reportedly wore black hoodies and masks. One resident, Rebecca Vos, witnessed one member of the Jewish community trying to disperse the children, only to be met with a torrent of abuse. She told the Echo News: “It is a nightmare. I did go and apologise to the man because it was horrible. In all honesty, these children don’t even know what they are saying, they don’t understand, but they are creating a gang mentality where they feel safe to act this way.”

Essex Police posted a statement on Facebook warning: “Do you know where your children are?…On Canvey we have had a report of a large group congregating and intimidating local residents. As a result a dispersal order has been put in place for Canvey, this gives an officer in uniform the power to remove a young person to a place of safety. This is under s35 of the Anti-Social, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and lasts for 48 hours. Children under 16 but over the age of 10 will be taken home, if they return to the locality defined within the order and cause anti-social behaviour within 48 hours this will be considered a breach which is an arrestable offence.”

We commend Essex Police for their firm response to this incident.

Jewish newcomers to the island say that they have generally been welcomed, but there have been antisemitic incidents such as when in August a group of youths reportedly directed Nazi salutes at a charedi Jewish family.