A criminal inquiry has been launched into suspected anti-Semitic hate crimes in the Labour Party, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed today.
The investigation began after London’s LBC Radio obtained an internal Labour report listing 45 cases of alleged anti-Semitic social media posts by members.
It passed the file to the Metropolitan Police in September and Ms Dick said officers were investigating the content as “there may have been a crime committed”.
She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that they had a duty to assess the material and were taking Crown Prosecution Service advice.
The Labour Party itself is not under investigation although it has been criticised by Jewish community leaders for not taking a more robust line on anti-Semitism.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said he will “root anti-Semites out of the party” and that he wants Jewish people to feel at home in the party.
But Labour is still dealing with a backlog of complaints through its internal processes about anti-Semitism against members.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said a culture of anti-Semitism was “deeply embedded” within sections of the party.
Vice-president Amanda Bowman said today: “This comes as no surprise to us. We have repeatedly set out what Labour needs to do, including taking firm action against anti-Semites and making its opaque processes transparent.”
LBC first passed the dossier to former police officer Mak Chishty, who said four examples were potential race hate crimes and 17 should be reported to police.
Among the allegations are threats against a female Labour MP, including a Facebook post calling her a ‘Zionist extremist’ who is ‘about to get a good kicking’.
Ms Dick said: “We would always want institutions and political parties and similar to be able to regulate themselves.
“However, if somebody passes us material which they say amounts to a crime we have a duty to look at that and not just dismiss it.
“We have been assessing some material that was passed to me, in a radio studio of all things, about two months ago.
“We are now investigating some of that material because it appears there may have been a crime committed.”
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, told the same programme that he was not surprised by the allegations.
He added: “If this does one thing, it will silence a small number of people who still believe that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in my party or in other parties.”
A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party has a robust system for investigating complaints of alleged breaches of Labour party rules by its members.”
Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee voted to adopt the international definition of anti-Semitism in full in September after initially agreeing to adopt only part of it.
All 11 examples of anti-Semitism listed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance are now due to be included in the party code of conduct.