Life & Society

Churches given £2.4m security fund to protect from hate crimes

Churches and other places of worship will receive £2.4m for security measures following a spike in hate crimes reported since the EU referendum result.

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Reuters – The fund will be open for places of worship such as mosques, synagogues and churches

The funding is part of a host of new measures under the government’s Hate Crime Action Plan which was announced on Tuesday by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Mosques and other religious buildings will benefit from the fund to be used for “protective security measures”.

The plan was unveiled on the day a priest was killed while celebrating mass in France. ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Under the plan Rudd will also ask Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to analyse how police forces respond to hate crimes.

The government will also work with schools to tackle abuse. Teachers and students will be given “new tools” and a programme to help teachers “facilitate conversations” when terrorists incidents happen.

Figures show more than 6,000 hate crimes have been reported to police since mid June. This was a 20 per cent rise compared to the same period in 2015. The statistics show that 10 per cent of young people were the victim of faith-related hate crimes and eight per cent of race hate crimes.

The daily rate peaked on 25 June, the day after the referendum result was announced.

Churches and other places of worship can bid for a grant until 20 September but the money does not extend to security guards. Instead applications can be made for up to 80 per cent of the cost of equipment such as CCTV, access control gates and fencing to protect sites from attack.

Rudd said: “This Government is determined to build a Britain that works for everyone.

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“Those who practise hatred send out a message that it’s OK to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background. That it’s OK to disregard our shared values and promote the intolerance that causes enormous harm to communities and individuals.

“Well, I have a very clear message for them. We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone.

“We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all. We are the sum of all our parts – a proud, diverse society. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out.”

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