Devon

Anti-Semitic hate victim in Tavistock 'told to move'

Thomas Godwin Image copyright Thomas Godwin
Image caption Thomas Godwin said police advised him he would have a better life if he moved house

A man claims police asked why he did not just move house when he reported being subjected to anti-Semitic abuse.

Thomas Godwin, from Tavistock, Devon, said he had reported numerous hate crimes against him since last July.

Mr Godwin said daily abuse and the lack of action by police had left him scared and "vulnerable in his own home".

Devon and Cornwall Police said all parties had been spoken to and mediation had been offered as a resolution.

Mr Godwin, who works for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Plymouth, said he reported three hate crimes in July 2018 - not related to anti-Semitism - and numerous incidents of anti-social behaviour.

He said the abuse "took a really ugly turn" in October when a letter calling him "Jew scum" was sent to his workplace, followed by anti-Semitic comments made outside his house.

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"It is really scary," he said.

"People get away with sending a letter, throwing stones and stalking you so where does it end up? Jewish people know where that ends up."

Image copyright Thomas Godwin
Image caption Mr Godwin said the police took two weeks to pick up the letter from his office in Plymouth

Mr Godwin said police told him he should move house as it would make his life better.

"I genuinely believe that is the attitude of the police; that they would just want me gone. It is easier," he said.

Stephen Silverman, the Campaign Against Antisemitism's director of investigations and enforcement, said police "seemed to have taken a stance that is just not serious enough in respect of this crime".

Mr Silverman said their attitude was "very worrying" and "allows this type of thing to thrive".

'Insufficient evidence'

Mr Godwin, who said he had been passed between the police and West Devon Borough Council, has since formally complained about both of them.

Both agencies said they were unable to comment on the complaints but said allegations of anti-social behaviour had been investigated and insufficient evidence was found to take the matter any further.

Devon and Cornwall Police said: "All parties involved have been spoken to and offered mediation as a possible resolution.

"We will continue to engage with and support those involved and will continue to work to find a resolution to this ongoing matter," the force added.

A spokeswoman from West Devon Borough Council said the council was working closely with the police and the community safety team.

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