Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Sunday, 24 January 2010

Police fear for Jewish patrol in Stamford Hill

Shomrim badge
Shomrim is Hebrew for security

A group of Jewish volunteers who have set up their own patrols in north London are putting themselves at risk, police have said.

Shomrim (Hebrew for security) Stamford Hill Safety and Rescue Patrol (SHSRP) scout the streets 24 hours a day assisting the community.

"We are the eyes and ears of the police," said Isaac Kornbluh.

But a statement from the Metropolitan Police said that members were endangering themselves.

Shomrim SHSRP was set-up in 2005 after several attacks and robberies took place in the streets of Stamford Hill in north London.

The 22 volunteers - who wear navy blue security style uniforms and are equipped with bullet-proof vests - say they do not want to replace the police but want to make people feel more secure.

"In all areas of London there's neighbourhood watch and we are taking it one step further," added Mr Kornbluh.

Residents can call Shomrim SHSRP who will liaise with the police. Volunteers, who have had security training, have radios and respond to calls via a central operator.

When a crime is reported on the emergency line, the operator alerts the police via 999. Patrols will also try to identify suspects.

Shomrim SHSRP say some members of the community do not call the police because of language problems. Their operators are able to assist these people by relaying their information to the police.

Prosecution risk

However, Shomrim SHSRP does not have law enforcement powers and cannot apprehend a suspect.

But a statement from the Metropolitan Police said: "There is an issue of members of the public putting themselves at physical risk.

"Through attending an escalating situation, interfering with possible evidence or potentially risking criminal prosecution themselves, should their conduct in dealing with members of the public justify that course of action.

"We would always encourage members of the public, from all communities, to contact their local police Safer Neighbourhoods team to discuss crime and safety issues in their area."

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