*Content Warning*: Images of the offensive graffiti are linked to in this article.
Graffiti featuring swastikas, far-right symbols and language relating to the recent attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been painted on a school wall in Cheney Lane, Headington.
The latter refers to the livestreamed Q/A broadcast by the perpetrator of an attack which left at least 49 people dead.
On the afternoon of the 17th March, Thames Valley Police announced the launch of an investigation into the event. It has been confirmed to Cherwell that this was a single, isolated incident.
Councillor Tom Hayes tweeted, in response to the incident: “Sickened by the daubing of Nazi graffiti on a back wall of Cheney School in Headington today. Have raised concerns with @OxfordCity @OxfordDS to remove this as a matter of immediate urgency. Hate is unacceptable in our diverse and welcoming city. “
A statement from Superintendent Joe Kidman (LPA Commander for Oxford City) implies that this is being treated as a hate crime: “I deplore the actions of the person or persons responsible for this graffiti and there are no excuses for those who carry out hate crimes.”
“Oxford is a tolerant community with strong links between our faith communities. This act is not representative of the people of Oxford and it will not be tolerated by Thames Valley Police.
“We are working to find the person or persons responsible. They may well have told someone else what they have done or been seen in the area and I ask anyone with information that could assist us to please come forward and call 101 quoting reference 43190081534.
“We are aware that the awful events in New Zealand will have heightened concerns for many communities. As a result officers in Oxford as well as the wider Thames Valley, will be visiting places of worship to reassure all faith communities. I have personally also made contact with a number of our faith leaders to offer support and advice on reviewing their safety and security measures.
“If you are a witness or a victim of hate crime please contact Thames Valley Police on 101 to report it.
“Our thoughts remain with the people of New Zealand and we stand together with them and all our communities at this difficult time.”
This is the second incident of its kind in the past five months. In November last year, swastikas were also painted on the wall of the Oxford Community Centre.