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Stamford Hill ‘beware of Jews’ artist ‘incredibly irresponsible’ – police commissioner

PUBLISHED: 10:07 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:18 17 March 2017

This sign appeared in Clapton Common. Picture: @Shomrim

This sign appeared in Clapton Common. Picture: @Shomrim

Archant

A police commissioner has slammed the artist who put up a sign in Stamford Hill apparently warning people to “beware of Jews”.

The fake road sign in Clapton Common – yards from a synoagogue – was reported to police on Tuesday by neighbourhood watch group Shomrim and torn down by Hackney Council.

It depicted the silhouette of an orthodox Jewish man, in an area with 30,000 members of the Charedi group – one of the UK’s largest ultra-orthodox Jewish communities.

But Franck Allais then came forward to say he had put it there as part of an art project, and had placed 27 around London in total with different silhouettes on them.

He has also been interviewed under caution after turning himself into police on Wednesday. He was not arrested.

And Surrey chief David Munro, the national lead for equalities, diversity and human rights, has now called his act irresponsible.

He said: “I was dismayed with the true lack of thought given by the artist for the distress this could cause to those of Jewish backgrounds.

“The work of Mr Allais is incredibly irresponsible. The location and connotations of the sign was undoubtedly going to cause alarm and offence and he simply should have known better.”

Last year the local neighbourhood watch group Shomrim published statistics revealing the everyday abuse they suffered, with 38 reports of hate crime in one month alone.

Shomrim supervisor Barry Bard said: “The sign has caused a lot of concern amongst local Jewish residents, especially as it’s in such close proximity to a synagogue.”

Hackney’s crime chief Cllr Caroline Selman said: “The council has had to remove several pieces of anti-Semitic graffiti in recent months, so it is entirely understandable that residents were offended by the sign.

“We take reports of hate crimes extremely seriously so if any residents find any kind of anti-Semitic signs or graffiti they should immediately report them to the police on 101.”

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