Britain’s temples and gurudwaras are among a wide range of places of worship that could benefit from a new UK government scheme providing additional security to such places in the wake of spike in hate crimes following Brexit.
The Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme was launched by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday as part of a wider UK government crackdown on a spike in hate crimes following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last month.
“Representatives from religious communities have raised concerns about crimes which range from graffiti to arson attacks. We will consider bids from places of worship in England and Wales to provide protective security measures,” a UK Home Office statement said.
Places of worship will be required to provide supporting documents to show they need increased security, including police reports, records of incidents, photographic evidence or insurance claims and will need to contribute 20 per cent of the total costs.
The bids under the fund, which will be open until September, will cover security equipment such as CCTV, perimeter fencing, access control gates, door locks and security doors.
Funding provided under the new scheme would also include the appropriate labour cost to install the security equipment.
The initial funding for the scheme has been assessed at 2.4 million pounds over three years, to be reviewed in light of the response to the first round of bids.
Hindu Forum of Britain, an umbrella body of Hindu organisations in the country, described the new fund as “great news” and urged its members to bid for additional security.
The programme is aimed at providing “security hardening measures for places of worship that have been subject to or are deemed to be vulnerable to criminal damage and extreme physical attacks.”
“It will also identify places of worship through independent and expert review at greatest risk of criminal damage and would potentially benefit from the implementation of new measures and mitigating the impact of hate crime offences, including but not limited to criminal damage such as vandalism, graffiti and arson and public order inside the property,” Home Office said.
The Jewish community will be exempted from the new scheme as a similar commitment was made to fund Jewish community sites through a grant administered by the UK’s Community Security Trust.
Recent figures showed there have been more than 6,000 reports of hate crime to police since June 23, when Britain voted for Brexit. The daily rate of hate crimes peaked at 289 on June 25, the day after the referendum result was announced.