Guidance

Places of Worship (POW): Protective Security Funding Scheme

How to apply for security funding to protect your place of worship against hate crime.

Applies to England and Wales

Overview of the scheme

The Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme provides funding for places of worship and associated faith community centres that are vulnerable to hate crime. This scheme is intended to reduce:

  • the risk of a hate crime happening at a place of worship and associated faith community centre
  • the impact of hate crime on the place of worship itself (the building) and people attending the place of worship

Through the scheme, vulnerable places of worship can apply for protective security measures, such as CCTV, secure fencing, and intruder alarms to be installed at their site for free.

You can apply for the installation of up to 3 protective security measures at your place of worship or associated faith community centre. The application process is open from 19 May 2022 until 28 July 2022. We cannot consider any applications received after this date.

The scheme covers the costs of equipment and installation of all security measures agreed for your place of worship. This includes any maintenance costs for one year from the installation date (such as for CCTV systems or for Monitored Intruder Alarm Systems).

However the government cannot fund any additional costs that might result from measures being installed, such as the cost of applying for planning permission or any preparatory work needed (for example clearing the grounds).

This year, Muslim faith communities will also be able to apply for funding for some security guarding services, where security guarding staff will be visible at the entrance of their place of worship. These guarding services will be available later in the year, when we will provide further information to interested Muslim communities. (see 3. Muslim community below)

Esotec Limited will continue to manage the scheme on behalf of the Home Office and will be the main point of contact for places of worship to discuss the agreed security measures for their particular site. Esotec Limited will also arrange for the eventual installation of security measures at places of worship who have been successfully awarded funding through the scheme.

All measures under the scheme must be completed and delivered by 31 March 2023.

Eligibility

The scheme is open to all faiths, except the Jewish community. This is because a separate funding scheme is available to provide security measures at certain Jewish faith institutions.

You should apply to the Places of Worship funding scheme if you have experienced hate crime at your place of worship, or if you feel that your place of worship is vulnerable to hate crime - for example if hate crime has happened at other sites in your community, or to people attending your place of worship. The application must be made on behalf of your place of worship and/or associated faith community centre. The scheme is only open to places of worship in England and Wales.

The types of places of worship that can apply under the scheme include (but are not limited to):

  • churches
  • gurdwaras
  • mosques
  • temples
  • associated faith community centres (for example, a community centre where regular worship takes place that is near a place of worship and run by that place of worship)

The Places of Worship Protective Security Funding scheme cannot accept applications for the following:

  • living accommodation
  • educational facilities (faith schools and other educational institutions are not eligible. As announced there is a separate scheme for Muslim Faith Schools in 2022/23)
  • NHS establishments including chapels and prayer rooms
  • other buildings that are owned by the place of worship or faith community but not used for regular worship (for example cafes, education centres, youth centres etc). Where these structures exist within the place of worship or on the same site, only the protection of the actual place of worship can be covered by the scheme

If your place of worship has received funding through the scheme in 2020-21 or 2021-22 you may still apply. However, funding for places of worship who have received funding in the last two years will be at the discretion of the Home Office and will only be awarded where there is very strong evidence of an ongoing vulnerability to hate crime. This is to ensure that as many places of worship as possible are able to access funding for protective security measures. We encourage mosques who have received funding through the scheme in the last two years to apply for guarding services if security guarding would be benefit their site and attending worshippers.

Muslim community

This financial year (2022/2023) mosques and associated faith community centres can also apply for some security guarding services, where they feel security guards will improve the safety of their site and those worshipping there.

The provision of a guarding service will only be available at Muslim places of worship. Interested Muslim communities will be able to apply for both guarding services and physical security measures (CCTV, fencing etc – as outlined above).

If you are interested in applying for security guarding services at your mosque, please indicate this on your application form. Indicating an interest on the form does not mean a formal commitment.

Please note that guarding services will not be available until later in the year. We will provide further information to those sites who indicate an interest in guarding services over the next few months

Charity status

Places of worship and associated faith community centres are normally charitable and required by law to register as charities if their income from all sources is over £5,000 a year. Some churches are currently excepted from registration.

If you are lawfully exempt, you will be required as part of your application to include a written confirmation of your exemption and the justification for your exemption. You must upload this written confirmation to the application portal on your organisation’s letter headed paper.

If you are not registered as a charity and are not exempt, you will need to register with the Charity Commission before applying to the scheme.

If you would like advice and support on completing the application to register as a charity, are unsure about whether you need to register, or have any other queries about registering as a charity, please contact, faithoutreach@charitycommission.gov.uk.

What the scheme covers

If your application is successful, the scheme will fund equipment and installations costs for up to three security measures. The types of security measures available are listed below, but you do not need to decide which measures you would like to apply for now. If your application is successful, a survey of your place of worship site will be carried out (see section 8). During this site survey, Esotec Limited will discuss with you the most appropriate measures for your particular site based on the recommendations made to them by the police DOCO:

  • CCTV (fixed cameras, not pan-tilt cameras)
  • Secure fencing and/or railings (no more than 2.1m high)
  • manually operated pedestrian and vehicle gates
  • Door hardening, locks and mail box / mail bag
  • reinforcing glazed windows (with anti-shatter film or bars/grilles only)
  • intruder alarms including integrated smoke/heat detection
  • door entry access control (fob or keypad)
  • video intercom systems
  • lighting (building mounted)

The scheme cannot be used to fund:

  • planning permission
  • general building improvements
  • standard security upgrades (e.g. should measures installed under this scheme become outdated after a number of years)
  • measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, lead theft, or other criminality unconnected with hate crime
  • security personnel/guarding – unless this is at a Muslim place of worship

Submitting an application

In order to submit a valid application, you will need to show that:

  • hate crimes or hate incidents have happened at your place of worship, or
  • hate crime has happened in your local area and you think there is a high chance that your place of worship could be targeted itself

You will need to provide evidence that the community at your place of worship is vulnerable to the kind of hate crime that targets people because of their religion and race.

Any crime can be classed as a hate crime if the offender has demonstrated, or been motivated by, hostility based on:

  • race
  • religion
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity

This scheme focuses on hate crimes motivated by religion and race.

Please provide a detailed description of all hate crimes and incidents that your place or worship has experienced. If you feel that your place of worship is vulnerable to hate crime, but has not experienced any hate crime incidents directly, please provide:

  • details of the incidents that have happened in your local area and
  • why you think your place of worship may also be the target of similar hate crime attacks

Please include details about how these incidents have affected worshippers in your community:

  • How did it make people feel?
  • Were people frightened?
  • Did it make people stop attending worship or other events at the site?

It is important to try and provide supporting evidence with your application form. This could be photographs of damage or graffiti at your place of worship, police crime reports, or local newspaper reports. You can upload a maximum of 20 files of evidence in support of your application.

Here are some examples of the types of evidence we are looking for, but there may be other examples you would like to include:

  • photographs/reports of incidents at your place of worship/associated faith community centre or nearby
  • police reports of a hate crime or incident at your place of worship/associated faith community centre or nearby
  • a letter or email from your local police force confirming that your institution is in an area where there has been high incidence of religiously motivated hate crimes
  • evidence of particular tensions in the community e.g. from a local authority community coordinator
  • testimonials about experiences of hate crime or hateful sentiment from worshippers at your place of worship/associated faith community centre
  • records and/or time and date logs of incidents that have occurred at your place of worship or associated community centre, or its nearby surroundings
  • a survey or consensus of people in your faith community showing how they feel about hate crimes that have happened at your place of worship or feelings of vulnerability about hate crime

Any reasonable evidence that you provide will be considered.

To apply for funding through the scheme, you will need to complete an online application.

As part of the application form you will be asked to provide evidence of hate crimes your community has experienced at your place of worship – please provide as much detail and supporting evidence as you can.

You can only submit one application for your place of worship/associated faith community centre. If your place of worship and associated faith community centre are on the same site, you should still only submit one application.

The form can be saved at any stage. However you must submit your application before the deadline closes at 11.59pm on Thursday 28 July 2022.

If you require any assistance with submitting your application, help may be available from Strengthening Faith Institutions.

The following information is required for the online application form:

  • name, faith, and address of your place of worship
  • name of contact and their details
  • place of worship location (England or Wales) and type (place of worship and/or associated faith community centre)
  • charity number or letter on your organisation’s letter headed paper confirming if and why you are legally exempt from registering as a charity (you will be asked to upload the letter)
  • existing security measures at your site
  • information if you’ve previously applied, and the outcome of that application

It’s important that you provide details for all hate crimes or incidents that have affected your place of worship and the people that worship there. For each incident, you should make clear:

  • what has happened
  • when it happened
  • where it happened
  • why you believe this is a hate crime/incident, and
  • the impact it has had on your place of worship

When providing your evidence, consider:

  • How recently has the crime/incident occurred?
  • How frequently do you experience hate crimes/incidents? Have the crimes/incidents occurred over a period of time?
  • Can you identify the motivation behind the crimes/incidents? Have you been targeted specifically because of your faith?
  • What is the impact of the crime/incident on your community?

Application guidance

Your application is more likely to be successful if you:

  • provide clear evidence to explain how and why your place of worship is vulnerable to hate crime
  • detail the incidents clearly and use different sources of evidence to show how your place of worship (the building) or those that worship there are vulnerable to hate crime
  • list the crimes or incidents, and provide evidence to back it up, highlighting the impact of these incidents on worshippers. For example, an applicant who has suffered hate graffiti should upload photos of the graffiti. They may also explain how the graffiti impacted the community and could include other relevant evidence such as written testimonies from people who attend the place of worship

Applications in previous years that that were unsuccessful tended to only provide limited evidence and/or did not clarify why their place of worship was vulnerable to hate crime. For example, not explaining what photographs showed; or only providing police incident reference numbers but not explaining what had happened.

Without clear and detailed evidence of vulnerability to hate crime, applications under this funding scheme are unlikely to be successful.

Examples

Here are some examples of what successful and unsuccessful applications might look like. This is a guide only and should not be copied in your application form.

Successful applicant 1:

We have experienced several hate crimes and incidents over the past few years. We have not reported all of these to the police. In the past year, we have had three incidences of hate graffiti occur on our walls during prayer times. I attach photographic evidence of the incidents.

At every religious festival, we receive harassment. Protest groups attend and shout abusive things at us. I attach a witness statement from a worshipper who suffered some of this abuse at a recent religious festival.

Last year, we also had an incident of criminal damage. People entered our premises during the night, and destroyed important religious texts and statutes. They broke down the door, and set fire to the religious texts. I attach photographic evidence of the damage. This felt hate motivated as the religious texts and statutes were purposefully targeted and damaged.

We recently had a more serious incident involving a male trying to enter the premises with a knife. Fortunately nobody was hurt, and the police arrived promptly to deal with the man. I attach the police crime reference report from the incident, which provides further information on what happened. This was recorded by the police as a hate crime, as the man stated he had been there to hurt worshippers.

These incidents have made our worshippers feel vulnerable and targeted because of their faith. A local place of worship down the road has also experienced a number of similar religiously motivated hate crimes, and this adds to our feelings of vulnerability, as we feel tensions from the surrounding community.

Successful applicant 2:

We recently experienced a terrible incident where all of our religious statues were destroyed in one night. We also had all of our windows smashed. This attack was deliberate, iconoclastic, and planned. The perpetrators attacked the site at night, and the day before an important religious festival. This meant that we were unable to properly celebrate the religious festival, and instead spent the day talking to the police and clearing up the mess.

This was a terrible attack which has made our worshippers feel really vulnerable. Prior to this, we have experienced some low level anti-social behaviour, with people trespassing and littering on the premises. However, this attack shows a deliberate shift into more direct attacks against our faith and premises.

In support of this application I attach photographs of the damage, witness reports detailing the impact, a survey of worshippers and how they feel about safety, police incident reports, and CCTV footage of the incidents.

Unsuccessful applicant 1:

In the current climate, all places of worship are vulnerable to hate crime.

Unsuccessful applicant 2:

We had someone leave a bag of rubbish on our premises.

Unsuccessful applicant 3:

There was a terrible incident involving knives, and 20 police officers attended.

As demonstrated by these examples, the applicants which provide more detail and upload evidence in support of their application, are the applicants which are more likely to score highly.

Site survey

If your application successfully demonstrates your vulnerability to hate crime, Esotec Limited will arrange to visit your place of worship with a local ‘Designing Out Crime Officer’. These are qualified experts in crime prevention and environment / building design . They will look at your current security arrangements and recommend up to three security measures for your site. The recommended measures will be designed to reduce your place of worship’s vulnerability to hate crime.

If you are content with the recommended security measures, you will be asked to confirm whether you wish to continue with your application. At this point, you should not undertake any installation works yourself or arrange for the security measures to be installed by another contractor. We cannot reimburse your place of worship for works carried out by another contractor.

Independent assessment

All site assessments that agree that a particular place of worship would benefit from the installation of physical security measures will then need to be reviewed by Independent Advisory Panel. The panel is made up of representatives from the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities who have expertise on security issues in relation to their respective faiths. The panel may also include a representative from the police crime prevention initiatives, and a Welsh representative.

After its review, the panel will jointly make recommendations to the Home Office on the places of worship it considers will most directly benefit from funding. Please note that, even if you provide evidence of being vulnerable to religious and racially-motivated hate crime, the panel can take other factors into account and may still recommend your application is declined. For example, they may recommend either part approval of the funds or measures requested, or recommend refusal of the full amount.

Application outcome

Due diligence checks will be carried out by the Home Office throughout the application process . We will let applicants know by email whether they have been successful or not under the scheme at the earliest opportunity.

Installation of security measures

If your application for funding under the scheme is successful, Esotec Limited will contact you to arrange a date to install your approved security measures. The Home Office will cover 100 percent of the costs to purchase and install agreed security measures, which will be paid directly to Esotec Limited. This does not include costs associated with permissions/consent required, or preparatory work required (for example, costs associated with clearing site debris or foliage to allow installation works to occur).

The Home Office will conduct random audit checks on a number of completed projects to ensure that all installations are in line with the agreed measures and to a satisfactory standard. All successful applicants should be prepared for the Home Office to arrange its audit.

Esotec Limited may use third party sub-contractors to install any future security measures, as and when required.

If your application is successful we ask that you engage quickly and fully with Esotec Limited to agree a survey visit to your place of worship and any further arrangements with contractors etc. We may otherwise need to withdraw any offer of funding.

Planning restrictions

The award of a grant to install security measures at your place of worship does not include permission to carry out the works. If your application is successful, you will need to check if further permissions are needed for the work to be carried out (for example, planning permission, listed building consent, faculty permission etc).

We ask you to seek any permissions required as quickly as possible, as all measures must be delivered and completed by 31 March 2023. Esotec Limited will seek confirmation from you that the application process for any consents needed has been started within two weeks of notification that your application has been successful.

Timetable

Bid opens Bid closes
19 May 11:59pm on 28 July

Site survey appointments

Initial site surveys will be organised and carried out between July and August 2022 (this date is a guide and can be subject to change)

Application review period commences

Applications will be considered by an independent advisory panel in August 2022 (this date is a guide and can be subject to change).

Outcome communicated

All application outcomes will be emailed by the Home Office no later than October 2022 (this date is a guide and may be subject to change).

Contact us

Esotec Limited is your first point of contact for any queries under the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding scheme (referring any queries to the Home Office as appropriate). They can be contacted at Esotec Limited

Data protection

To find out more about how we process and protect your information, and your rights in relation to this, please see the privacy information notice (PIN).

Published 26 July 2016
Last updated 14 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Amendment of closing date from 14 July to 28 July 2022.

  2. Replaced 'privacy information notice' document with link to accessible version.

  3. Updated guidance.

  4. Amendment of closing date from 2 July to 16 July 2021.

  5. Updated email under Contact Us.

  6. Added contact details for Strengthening Faith Institutions, for if you require any assistance with submitting your application.

  7. Updated places of worship scheme guidance.

  8. Updated privacy information notice (PIN).

  9. Details updated for the 2020 scheme including the Privacy Information Notice.

  10. Bids open for 2019 fund.

  11. Bids open for 2018 fund.

  12. Bidding open for 2017 funding.

  13. Application deadline extended to 4 October 2016.

  14. Updated guidance and bid form published.

  15. First published.