‘Too much anti-Semitic abuse’: GMP’s swift arrests after tram stop hate crime a comfort to Jewish community

Detectives are investigating an anti-Semitic assault in Bowker Vale after the arrest of three 17-year-old boys suspected of grievious bodily harm and violent disorder that is reported to have caused ‘upset and anxiety’ in the Jewish community.

The three 17-year-olds were arrested on Thursday September 10 2015 after being suspected of causing grevious bodily harm and violent disorder to a group of one boy and three men.

Police are treating the assault as an anti-Semitic hate crime and are appealing for potential witnesses to come forward to assist enquiries.

Detective Inspector Liam Boden of GMP’s North Manchester Division said: “We have had a team of officers working closely with our partners to recover and examine evidence since the offence took place, which has revealed a sustained and unprovoked attack on the victims who were waiting for a tram on the opposite platform.

“We currently have three people in custody but we are still appealing for any witnesses to come forward.”

One of the assailants from Prestwich presented himself to a local police station yesterday, after two others were arrested in the morning at addresses in Whitefield and Derbyshire.

ASSAULT MAP: A map showing the location of the assaults

The attack occured at around 11:30pm on Saturday September 5 2015 at Bowker Vale Metrolink stop in North Manchester.

The three offenders are reported to have approached a group of one boy and three men who were waiting for a tram, before verbally and physically assaulting them.

Moche Fuerst, 17, from Prestwich, suffered a serious head injury and remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital. Two 18-year-old men were taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries but have since been discharged.

DI Boden added that he wanted to reassure the Jewish community that the police are planning to increase security measures, particularly with the Jewish High Holy Days coming up.

He said: “There are two distinct scenes, as we believe the victims were chased from the platform to Middleton Road and that is where the most serious assault took place.

“We would therefore like to ask anyone who may have been travelling along Middleton Road at around 11.25pm on Saturday, or anyone who believes they may have witnessed the attack, to come forward.

“Similarly, we believe the offenders then alighted the Metrolink towards Bury at around 11.35pm, travelling between Bowker Vale and Radcliffe.

“We know there were people on this tram and that they would have noticed these offenders travelling between carriages, as it would have been obvious that at least one of them had been involved in an assault.

“I know this crime has caused upset and anxiety in the Jewish community, particularly as this has happened just prior to the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, and I want to offer reassurance that hate crime will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to stop it.

“For the past few weeks, we have been working closely with the community and Community Security Trust to put in place extra measures in the lead up to the High Holy Days period, with plans already in place to step up patrols in the area and increase security over the coming weeks.”

Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd urges victims of hate crime to come forward as they are expected to take the incidents seriously.
He said: “These arrests demonstrate that the police are taking this incident very seriously which I hope gives reassurance to the Jewish community and the wider public.
“I would urge anyone with information about this incident to come forward and report it to police. 

“Moshe Fuerst has suffered terrible injuries and I hope him and his friends make a speedy and full recovery. 

“The police are treating this as a hate crime and, while we don’t know the full details of this particular incident, I want to make clear that all reports of hate crime will be dealt with seriously.

“We have seen a significant rise in reports of hate crime and in particular anti-Semitic hate crime reports, which have risen by more than half over the past year.

“The CST has recognised that much of this is a result of the work that has been done by police, other agencies and local communities to build real confidence that victims will be taken seriously when they come forward.”

Amanda Bomsztyk, Northern Regional Director of the Community Security Trust (CST) said: “We would like to thank Greater Manchester Police for its prompt action in this particularly serious and worrying incident.

“There is far too much anti-Semitic abuse and violence, and we hope these arrests will send a strong message, providing some reassurance to the Jewish community.”

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing, also took the time to comment on the incident by expressing his anger at the hate crime.
He said: “I am appalled at the brutal and senseless assault of a young man and his friends at the Bowker Vale tram stop and the verbal and physical assault of another innocent man at Monsall station.
“Both incidents, it appears, were fuelled by hate and for a person to be attacked because of their race, religion or sexuality is inexcusable.
“As in society, our passengers should be free to go about their business without the worry of verbal and physical assault from an intolerant minority and we will do everything we can to support these police investigations.
“All trams and stations are equipped with CCTV so people should be warned that if they do step outside the law their actions and faces will be captured.
“Officers from the Travel Safe Unit will be patrolling these areas to deter further offences and offer reassurance to passengers and if anyone has information about these offences I’d encourage them to talk to the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

You can also report via the dedicated hate crime reporting website

Image courtesy of Municipal Archives of Trondheim, with thanks.

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