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UK News

49 places of worship share a £1.6m of government funds to boost security

by Press Association

Almost 50 places of worship in England and Wales have received £1.6 million of Home Office funding for security to protect against hate crime attacks.

The funding, under the places of worship protective security scheme, has been given to 49 sites, including 27 mosques, 13 churches, five gurdwaras and four Hindu temples this year.

A new consultation for faith groups to provide feedback on what more can be done to protect them from attacks has also been launched.

Baroness Williams, minister for countering extremism, said: "No one should be fearful about practising their faith.

"Whether it is a church, a mosque, gurdwara or temple, any place of worship should be a space of reflection and safety.

"The places of worship scheme provides that physical security. However, we can always do more, which is why we want to hear from worshippers about how we can better protect them from these terrible attacks."

The scheme helps to fund measures such as CCTV, fencing, gates, alarms and lighting to places of worship vulnerable to hate crime.

The £1.6m shared by the 49 faith communities is the largest amount given in a single year since the scheme was set up in 2016.

A total of £3.2 million has been earmarked for the scheme in 2020/21.

In a new simplified system for applicants, a central contractor installs improved physical security such as locks, lighting and CCTV.

Police in England and Wales recorded 103,379 hate crime offences in 2018/19 - an increase of 10% on the previous year.

A Home Office spokesman said of the increase: "This is largely due to improvements in the police recording, and more victims feeling able to come forward and report these crimes."

The new consultation, lasting for eight weeks, will ask faith groups what else should be done to help them feel safe and confident.

Results will be analysed and considered as part of future steps on how the Government can protect religious groups.

Jewish communities receive support from a separate fund, the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant.

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