UK places of worship vulnerable to hate crime to receive more funds for security

Places of worship in the United Kingdom that have been subjected to or could be vulnerable to hate crime attacks will be supported with a further one million pound funding for protective security.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2018 17:30 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, London
places of worship,hate crime,fund
British Prime Minister Theresa May had last year condemned the Finsbury Park mosque attack, saying an on one community is an “attack on all of us”.(Reuters)

Places of worship in the United Kingdom that have been subjected to or could be vulnerable to hate crime attacks will be supported with a further one million pound funding for protective security, the government said on Friday.

Successful applicants in England and Wales will receive up to 56,000 pounds towards improved security to counter threat from hate crimes. Earlier, funding had been awarded only when places of worship had either been victim to, or at risk of a hate attack, including graffiti, defacing of religious symbols or attacks on worshippers, the home office said.

The Places of Worship Security Funding scheme, which was launched in 2016 and is worth 2.4 million pounds in total, has helped 89 churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras to install protective alarms, security lighting and CCTV cameras to deter attackers. Synagogues are covered under a separate government-funded scheme administered by the Community Security Trust.

Minister for countering extremism, Baroness Williams, said, “Communities being able to worship their religion free from intimidation, violence or abusive behaviour is a vital principle at the heart of the values we share in this country. This scheme has already helped many places of worship bolster their security and we encourage those who have suffered from or fear hate crime attacks to apply.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We are a country of many faiths, and as I said following last year’s appalling terror attack in Finsbury Park, an attack on one community is an attack on all of us. Freedom of worship, respect, and tolerance for those of different faiths is fundamental to our values and I am determined to stamp out extremism and hate crime wherever it occurs”.

“Security at places of worship is important to provide congregations with peace of mind, but let me be clear where groups or individuals incite hatred or are engaged in vile, religiously motivated criminal activity, they should expect to be prosecuted and face the full force of the law,” she said.

The scheme is a key commitment of the Government Hate Crime Action Plan, which sees the home office, the ministry of housing, communities and local government and other government departments working together to prevent hate crime, support victims and prosecute the perpetrators.

“The United Kingdom has in place one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect communities from hostility, violence and bigotry, and we keep it under constant review to ensure that it remains effective and appropriate in the face of new and emerging threats,” the home office said.

“We are also working with communities to ensure people know how to report any hate incidents and where to get support, and have taken steps to increase reporting of hate crime, ensuring the police now record hate crimes by the religion of the victim,” it said.

The criteria for this year’s bids has been made more flexible — bidders will need to provide evidence that they are either vulnerable to hate crime or have been subject to a hate crime within the last two years. Bidding for the Places of Worship Security Fund will open today.

First Published: Jun 08, 2018 17:30 IST