The Metropolitan Police is to launch a new £1.7 million unit which will be dedicated to fighting online racism, including anti-Semitism, and will train a “volunteer army” to help identify, report and challenge online hatred.

The two-year project was approved by the London Mayor’s office at the end of July to “filter and identify” hate crimes online, including on social media. The unit will comprise five officers who will train volunteers. The information will then be passed to regional police forces so they can deal with individual incidents in their area.

The Jewish community has welcomed the move by the Metropolitan Police.

“We welcome the announcement of increased resources,” said Marie van der Zyl, vice-president of the Board of Deputies to the Jewish News. “It is a good start and a much-needed message that anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, homophobia, misogyny and all forms of abuse are just as wrong online as they are in person.”

The reason this move by the Metropolitan Police is so good for the Jewish community is that anti-Semitism is the number one form of hatred and bigotry online. Often people use the internet to express their hatred often without repercussions. Now it seems the Police will be looking to tackle it more affectively.