Claims of racist abuse by Romford Scout troop

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The Independent Online

Police are investigating claims a Scout troop shouted abuse at a group of Jewish veterans during a Remembrance Sunday parade.

Witnesses report hearing members of an Explorer Scout group shout "kill the Jews" at ex-servicemen in Romford, Essex. One boy reportedly started his racist chanting as he stood in uniform among 30 other members of a local explorer scout group ahead of a march to the town's war memorial.

Jack Rose, of Romford and District Synagogue, said a senior police officer, Chief Inspector John Harlow, witnessed the incident.

He said: "They all met at a central point in Romford before they went to the war memorial.

"Before they marched off, some sort of comment was made by some of the scouts saying 'kill the Jews'."

Mr Rose said the senior officer attended a reception at the synagogue later that day and took evidence from other witnesses.

He added: "They were boy scouts who are supposed to be true to their cause.

"Somewhere along the line someone has been completely stupid or they really think these things."

Scout county commissioner Dean Jefferys delivered a letter of apology to the synagogue.

He said he was "shocked and appalled" and said all scout members offered their "most sincere and profound apologies".

Mr Jefferys said: "I understand that a senior police officer spoke to all of the explorer scouts at the time of the incident.

"Although the originator of the comments could not be identified, I understand that all the young people were left in no doubt as to the seriousness of the remarks made and the consequence of further such behaviour."

Simon Carter, of the Scout Association, said: "Scouting is an international movement with over 30 million youth members and works for peace in nearly every country in the world.

"The understanding and valuing of their faith and the faith of others is one of the core principles of scouting.

"We do this by providing practical activities, opportunities to work in teams, learning by doing and getting young people to think for themselves.

"As scouts, we promise to do our duty and to help other people. Clearly this child has not lived up to this promise.

"Our role as adults in scouting is to work with this child and to challenge them in this area of their thinking.

"All members of the scout unit are aware of the seriousness of the incident and are aware that such behaviour has no place in scouting or society at large."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police have received two allegations of racially aggravated harassment which allegedly occurred on Sunday November 8 in Romford town centre.

"These allegations are currently being investigated."