John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, the Council of Mosques and the East London Mosque met yesterday with community leaders to talk about options to help protect faith buildings and those who want to worship in peace.
The meeting was used to offer reassurance to community leaders and share information about support the council and police could offer.
Mayor Biggs wrote to the Home Secretary after the Christchurch attack, urging him to open a Places of Worship Fund to support security measures for faith buildings that are vulnerable to hate crime.
The Government has since announced that £1.6 million would be made available to faith organisations. When the Government agrees the application process, details will be available at www.gov.uk
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Following the Christchurch attack we came together as community to show that we stand against racism and Islamophobia. This meeting with the at East London Mosque has given us a chance to have a discussion about working together to find practical ways to keep our residents safe and reassure them. It also outlined the support the council can provide to places of worship. Our message is clear – we will continue to protect our community against those that seek to divide us.”
Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet Member for Community Safety added: “The Christchurch attack was an act of terrorism which deliberately targeted Muslims as they worshipped. ,Tower Hamlets stood in solidarity with New Zealand. People should be able to go about their business without being in fear – Tower Hamlets is No Place for Hate. Following the attack, people came together at East London Mosque to show solidarity here in the East End and we’re still here supporting each other.”
Sue Williams, Chief Superintendent for Central East BCU (Hackney and Tower Hamlets) said: “It’s important to talk to members of the community about their policing concerns. We will do all we can to help resolve them.”
Tower Hamlets is the only London council that pays for a Designing Out Crime Officer to support applications for government funding. This adds to the resilience of the police design out crime officers, and offers additional protective security advice and expertise.
The council invests £3m in additional police officers to ensure there is a presence on the streets, despite cuts to the police’s budget and uniformed council enforcement officers (THEOs) regularly patrol streets across the borough to keep residents safe.