Up to £28million in funding is to be made available to protect places of worship from targeted attacks, the government has announced today.
Places of worship in England and Wales are invited to apply to two separate schemes, with successful applicants being provided physical protective security.
This security includes CCTV systems, intruder alarms and secure fencing to help mosques, churches, temples, synagogues, gurdwaras and other places of worship from violence.
Announcing the funding, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: “Freedom of religious belief and the freedom to worship are fundamental.
Krishan Kant Attri, Julie Siddiqi, Venerable Ajahn Amaro and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby take part in the Big Help Out in London in April 2023
“We will defend against any form of hatred targeting our communities, and are committed to protecting all faiths.
“I encourage any place of worship that feels they would need assistance to apply under the schemes.”
Applications are open for eight weeks, with successful sites being chosen by November 2023.
To be in with a chance of securing defence systems, places of worship will have to prove their vulnerability by submitting evidence of previous hate crimes and violence.
Julie Siddiqi, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby help sort clothing as they join other faith leaders in taking part in the Big Help Out in April 2023
This year, up to £24.5m will again be available to protect mosques and Muslim faith schools through the ‘Protective Security for Mosques Scheme’ and a scheme for Muslim Faith schools launched directly to teachers of eligible schools earlier in the year.
In 2021/22, two in five (42%) religious hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales were targeted against Muslims.
The Jewish community continues to receive funding for Jewish schools, synagogues and other community sites through a separate scheme called the Jewish Community Protective Security Grant, which was increased by £1 million to £15million earlier this year.
These funds are used to increase protective security, including security guards and other security measures such as CCTV and alarm systems to protect against persistent hate crime, anti-social behaviour, terrorism and state threats.
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat
An additional £3.5million in funding will also be made available for all other (non-Muslim and non-Jewish) faiths through the ‘Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme’.
A comprehensive list of protective security measures available is listed as follows: CCTV (fixed cameras, not pan-tilt cameras); secure fencing and/or railings (no more than 2.1m high); manually operated pedestrian and vehicle gates; door hardening, locks and mailbox / mail bag; reinforcing glazed windows (with anti-shatter film or bars/grilles only).
Also included are intruder alarms including integrated smoke/heat detection; door entry access control (fob or keypad); video intercom systems and lighting (building mounted).
The current national threat level, which indicates the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK, is currently ‘substantial’.
There are five threat levels: critical, severe, substantial, moderate, and low.
The UK’s current rating of ‘substantial’ means that an attack is ‘likely’, having been downgraded from ‘severe’ in February 2022.