£15,000 security funding boost for St Albans Cathedral to tackle hate crime
PUBLISHED: 10:08 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:08 26 January 2017
CCTV cameras and other safeguarding measures will be used to beef up security at St Albans Cathedral, after the landmark attraction received funding to tackle hate crime.
Despite there being no such crime recorded by the police at the historic site in recent years, the government has recently pledged £15,000 to the Cathedral.
Churches, chapels and meeting houses in England and Wales were invited last year to apply for grants for security equipment.
The Home Office announced bidding for grants under its ‘Places of worship: security funding scheme’, as part of its hate crime action plan. This was intended to pay for security measures to be installed at places of worship that need increased protection.
Examples include CCTV, perimeter fencing, bollards, door and window locks, and intruder alarms.
The Herts Advertiser understands that the plan involves providing a total £800,000 a year to provide such measures to places of worship that have been subject to, or are vulnerable to a hate-based attack.
After about 290 bids were received for the funding scheme, 59 places of worship were recently informed of their success – including St Albans Cathedral.
A spokeswoman for Herts Police confirmed that there has been “no reports of hate crime at St Albans Cathedral since 2013”.
However, Stephanie Pisharody, development manager at the church, said a bid was put in after a suggestion by a local crime prevention officer.
She explained: “The police officer, during a review last autumn, pointed out that we are a big, iconic building in the area, with a lot of people visiting. It was recommended that we improve the security for people coming in, as we need to be on top of this.
“The funding will be spent on CCTV cameras at entrances, but these will not intrude upon Cathedral activities inside. We will also make certain our locks are up-to-date, and get new radio systems, to ensure vergers and staff involved in the running of the Cathedral can stay in touch more easily.”
She said the government scheme existed because of a greater awareness of security issues around such landmark buildings throughout the country.
Stephanie added that while there had been no hate crimes recorded at the local church, the Cathedral was “mindful of incidents around the world, at places of worship - they are a target, so we are making sure there are measures in places for our congregation and visitors.”
The £15,000 grant has already been allocated, with security improvements expected to be in place by March.