Places of Worship: Security Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:52 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:52 pm, 7th May 2019

I thank the right hon. Lady for the tone of her remarks and for her support. I think it is reassuring for members of the public watching or listening to know that everyone in this House is united in the determination to protect people in all places of worship, whatever their faith, in every way we can. I very much welcome her comments.

The right hon. Lady rightly started by condemning the recent terrorist attacks around the world—in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and San Diego. She was also right to make a link between those attacks and what she called the ripple effect—the rise in recorded hate crime that we have sadly seen here in our own country. I know she shares our absolute determination to ensure we do everything we can where hate crime is reported. People must always feel that they can go ahead and report that crime. Letting the police know enables them to investigate it and take action.

The right hon. Lady said she would follow up on the package, and I hope she does. That is exactly what I would expect of her and I very much welcome it. She is very good at following up on things. That will help us, working together, to ensure we are doing all we can to support our communities. She was right to raise the issue of how we can ensure the fund is allocated as quickly and as efficiently as possible. That is why I referred in my statement to changes I am making to the application rules. In the past the fund has, I think, required at least three estimates for putting up CCTV from different certified contractors. I think we can simplify the rules. We are doing that and it will help to make it more straightforward.

The right hon. Lady raised the £5 million that I announced for training. I think we have a collective desire to ensure it is utilised quickly, properly and efficiently, and that all communities and all faith groups feel they have access and support. That is exactly why we have already started the consultation with faith groups, community representatives and others to make sure we are listening to them about the best way to use the £5 million.

All of us in this House share a determination to ensure that people in our country can worship without fear. We will do everything we can to make that a reality.