Churches and mosques to be given £2 million for security

Sun 24 Jul 2016
By Hannah Tooley

Churches, mosques and synagogues as well as other places of worship will receive government-funded "protective security measures" to keep them safe after a rise in hate crime following the European Union referendum. 

£2.4 million is being set up to protect places of worship across the country.

The steps will be outlined in the Government's new hate crime action plan, which will be published next week and also include calls for prosecutors to press for tougher sentences for perpetrators of hate crimes.

It follows a sharp rise in alleged offences and incidents reported to police in the weeks before and after the referendum on June 23rd.

According to the Home Office, the action plan will set out steps to boost reporting of offences and support victims.

There will be new guidance on racially and religiously aggravated offences too.

There will also be special "targeted work" to prevent hate crime on public transport and tackle attacks on Muslim women, as well as a continued emphasis on eradicating anti-Semitism.

Amber Rudd, Home Secretary said: "Hatred directed against any community, race or religion has no place whatsoever in our diverse society and it needs to be kicked to the kerb.

"We are Great Britain because we are united by values like democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all.

"Where crimes are committed we must make sure victims have the confidence to report incidents and the law is rigorously enforced.

"At a time of increased concerns about a climate of hostility towards people who have come to live in our country, let me be absolutely clear that it is completely unacceptable for people to suffer abuse or attacks because of their nationality, ethnic background or colour of their skin.

"We will not stand for it."

Ms Rudd said that the new action plan will set out "robust and comprehensive steps" to eradicate hate crime.

She went on: "I am extremely proud of the rich diversity and tolerance of our society and the shared values that underpin it.

"They are something we must all work together to treasure and protect. Together, by standing against hate and for tolerance, we can build a better and more united Britain that works for everyone."

A spate of reports in the wake of the EU referendum sparked fears of a wave of xenophobic and racial abuse.

Figures released on Friday showed more than 6,000 alleged hate crimes and incidents were reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in four weeks from the middle of last month.

The daily rate peaked at 289 reports on June 25th - the day after the referendum result was announced.

The main type of offence reported over the month was "violence against the person", which includes harassment and common assault, as well as verbal abuse, spitting and "barging".

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