Hackney police advisory group chair resigns over lockdown wedding

Police have launched an investigation.

Police have launched an investigation. - Credit: Archant

Police have launched a probe after Hackney’s public advisory group chair resigned following revelations his daughter’s wedding took place in Golders Green during lockdown.

Moishe Friedlander voluntarily stepped down last week as chair of Hackney Independent Advisory Group (IAG), which exists to ensure confidence and trust in local law enforcement.

Police are understood to have issued a fine at the Bridge Lane venue for a breach of social distancing regulations, with videos posted on social media showing attending officers being offered alcohol by guests and table places set for multiple people.

A spokesperson for Hackney IAG said: “We have designated a new chair, an established member of [the group], and a review is being carried out by the police into the circumstances pertaining to this matter.

“This was an isolated incident involving one member of Hackney IAG and the important work of the group continues.

“Hackney IAG has always enjoyed a close working relationship with Hackney police and with IAGs across London. Members are volunteers, able and willing to offer advice from their individual viewpoints, to help the police to provide a better service to people across Hackney.

“Each member brings a unique set of skills and knowledge relating to local communities. At times we are called upon to contribute the opinions and views of the wider community that the group represents.”

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IAGs are public bodies that bring an independent viewpoint to local policing, from responding to domestic abuse and serious assaults to being the “eyes and ears” on the ground to help with early intervention.

Members are vetted by police and Friedlander had chaired the group for five years.

Concerns around the importance of observing social distancing among the Jewish community in Stamford Hill have been widely reported since the beginning of lockdown, though according to local Conservative councillor Harvey Odze, the situation has “greatly improved”.

The Springfield councillor, addressing a meeting of Hackney councillors on 22 April, called on members of the public to report any infringements to the authorities, adding: “We have lost too many people already, particularly in the Orthodox Jewish community. We are going to lose more, we know, but we want to minimise it.”

Cllr Odze said: “I understand the situation has greatly improved. Nevertheless, there are a small hardcore who continue to ignore the pleas of both their rabbis and Orthodox Jewish doctors, and I would ask all councillors to use all available avenue to you to publicise the gravity of ignoring the regulations.”

Speaking today in direct reference to the Friedlander wedding, Cllr Odze added: “I deplore any flouting of the regulations on social distancing. Although I have sympathy with the bride and groom, nevertheless a gathering like that can add to sadness rather than happiness in the current circumstances.”

Police and Moishe Friedlander were approached for comment but had not responded by time of going to press.