Bristol has stepped up police presence in the city centre to combat potential Islamophobia in the wake of the Berlin terror attack.
At least 12 were killed and many more injured, more than a dozen critically, when a truck was driven into crowds of people at a Christmas market in the German capital. Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the act of terror, with police chiefs warning that the country can expect “further significant attacks”.
Following the attack officers, both mounted and on foot, and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) have been patrolling the Bristol Christmas market in Broadmead, England.
Area commander for Bristol, Chief Superintendent Jon Reilly, confirmed that extra officers have been deployed to prevent ‘hate crime’.
“Following previous terror attacks across mainland Europe we have seen an increase in the number of reported Islamophobic hate crimes in the Avon and Somerset area.
“We have subsequently increased patrols in areas of Bristol which have high footfall in order to provide additional reassurance and to act as a visible deterrent. We also hope it will aid and encourage reporting of any hate crimes or incidents should they occur.
“We want those who are victims of hate crime to feel confident in the belief that we’ll take their reports seriously, protect them and make sure they get all the support they need.
“We’d also like to reassure everyone that we, along with the security and intelligence services, are tirelessly working together to keep you safe.”
Two Muslims have been murdered this year in religiously motivated attacks, but in both cases the perpetrators were Muslim fundamentalists. Following the murder of Asad Shah, who was stabbed just hours after wishing Christians a Happy Easter on Facebook, the victim’s family was forced to go into hiding. Posts appeared online celebrating the murder, and Muslims showed up to the trial to congratulate the killer and chant their support in the courtroom.
Police have been accused of reluctance to act on hate crimes when the perpetrator is from a minority ethnic group. An Asian family who converted to Christianity said they have effectively become prisoners in their own home, even after being forced to move twice, as a result of a campaign of vandalism and harassment at the hands of Muslims who regard them as blasphemers.
Despite being called on numerous occasions, police were reluctant to treat the attacks as hate crimes. Mr Hussain said he felt so let down by the force that he lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.