To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 2 April 2019 to Question 236388 on Religious Buildings: Security, what plans are in place to enable his Department to consult communities on the security of places of worship.
23 April 2019
The Places of Worship Protective Security Fund (POW) is a key commit-ment in the Hate Crime Action Plan published in 2016. The scheme has been running for three years, and we ensure we continuously listen to feedback from faith communities on the scheme, including the independent panel to the scheme made up of representatives across faith groups. This feedback has resulted in improvements being made for each year of the scheme.
In March the Home Secretary announced an increase in the amount of funding for the POW scheme to £1.6m, for 2019-20. We are working urgently to make commercial improvements to the scheme to make it easier for places of worship to apply, reducing the administrative burden and widening the eligibility criteria.
More widely, following the events in Christchurch, the Home Secretary committed to consulting with faith communities to understand what more could and should be done to help protect faith communities at their places of worship. We will be working with groups such as the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, Tell Mama and those representing other faiths as part of this consultation. This engagement with communities is starting immediately with opportunities for wider consultation, including from people feeding in on individual basis, following thereafter. We will be outlining how to engage on Gov.UK shortly