Nail bomb attacks: Communities send patrols on to streets

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FEARFUL OF further bombing outrages, minority groups have been organising to defend their communities against future race hate campaigns.

London's Jewish community, in particular, is prepared for the worst. Michael Whine, spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST), an organisation set up to protect Jews from the type of attacks that have hit blacks, Asians and homosexuals, said yesterday: "The sort of protection we've been providing for the community in the last week was already planned. It was just a matter of taking the plans off the shelf and dusting them down. We've been organised for years."

The CST, which has charitable status, has 2,000 members and was set up in 1995. Yesterday members were patrolling the streets of Golders Green and other areas with a large Jewish population. The volunteers provide "security advice" and "defence research" for the 300,000 British Jews. The CST has been working with the police since the bombing campaign started.

CST members are trained in security work such as the searching of buildings and people, using communications and making buildings secure.

"The other side is the defence research - assessing political or physical threats to the Jewish community to identify their source," said Mr Whine.

He believes the organisation is necessary. "We have lived with the threat of terrorism for years. Our history teaches us that unless we look after ourselves, no one else is going to," he said.

Yesterday Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry said of the bombs: "I know the concern these acts cause all Londoners and we will continue the increased overt anti-terrorist patrolling around the capital."

The 1990 Trust, established to provide advocacy and to research problems faced by blacks and Asians, is to take a lead from the CST. Lee Jasper, director of the trust, said: "We are on the verge of making an application for raising money to set up an organisation along the same lines."

Mr Jasper hopes money will be provided by the Home Office from money set aside to fund measures outlined in the Crime and Disorder Bill. The plan is to train 5,000 volunteers to protect 3 million black and Asian Britons from racist attacks.

"Volunteers would be equipped with vehicles, radios and basic surveillance equipment to help people subject to constant racial harassment," Mr Jasper said. "We would also seek to provide security for high-profile events, whether they are religious or cultural."

Unlike the CST, which was set up with protection from terrorism in mind, the 1990 Trust will aim primarily to help black and Asian people suffering constant racial abuse by gathering evidence to enable prosecution of racists. But Mr Jasper said it would also be valuable during terror campaigns.