The Home Office has granted the Community Security Trust (CST) funding to the tune of £14 million for security measures designed to help keep members of the Jewish community safe in their daily lives. The grant will cover protective security for the next financial year at Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.
A charity that monitors and helps to protect against anti-semitism, CST recorded 1,805 anti-semitic incidents in the UK in 2019. This figure represents a 7% increase on the previous year.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Anti-semitic incidents are not just an attack on the Jewish community, but on everyone who believes in a free and open society. This funding will help Jewish people practise their religion and way of life without fear of attack or persecution.”
Baroness Williams, the Minister for Countering Extremism, added: “No-one should feel afraid for practising their religion. We are committed to ensuring our places of worship remain safe spaces for worship, contemplation and reflection. Only by working together can we ensure that hateful behaviour like anti-semitism are eliminated from our society.”
The grant was introduced in 2015 following a series of terror attacks against Jewish targets across Europe. It has been renewed yearly following security assessments by the Home Office.
The CST’s CEO David Delew explained: “The British Jewish community is deeply grateful for the renewal of Home Office funding for the provision of security officers at Jewish schools and other communal premises facing the continuing threat of terrorism. The CST will continue managing this grant, which alleviates a serious financial security burden from Jewish communities across the country.”
Most of the funding will go towards protective measures for Jewish schools. While the funding period commences on Wednesday 1 April, all synagogues remain closed while schools only remain open for the children of those conducting essential work as part of Government efforts to tackle COVID-19.
In addition to the protective security grant, the Home Office also runs the Places of Worship Scheme, which provides funding to improve physical security for non-Jewish places of worship.
Importantly, the Home Office has recently launched a consultation to see what more can be done by the Government to improve security for faith groups.