UK – Row over funding for police faith groups

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The Home Office was accused of discriminating against Christian groups after it emerged a Muslim police group has received at least six times more funding than a Christian one.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 8:00AM GMT 13 Mar 2010

The National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) received £90,000 in grant aid in the last two years while the Christian Police Association (CPA) received just £15,000 in the last five, despite both groups having around 2,000 members.

And the CPA even disputed those figures insisting it has only been given £10,000 over the period.

Faith-based organisations can bid for Home Office grants either for specific projects or for general funding, with officials deciding which are successful.

Don Axcell, executive director of the CPA, said other requests for additional funding had been ignored.

He said: "As a Christian charity we have to rely on the public for funds as our requests for money from government are largely rejected or ignored. Our letters go unanswered."

Alan Craig, leader of Christian Peoples Alliance, said: "This is yet another sign of Christianity being written off the agenda.

"Christians are constantly marginalised and discriminated against by the government, who are ignoring one of this country’s principle faiths."

The CPA was handed £5,000 in 2004/05 and £10,000 last year, according to Home Office figures, but Mr Axcell insisted the only grant the group has received is the one last year.

That was to help widen its involvement with local church groups and encouraged members of the public to "adopt a cop" by praying for the safety of local officers.

In contrast, the NAMP was given grants of £45,000 last year and in 2008/09, listed only as general funding.

The group was formed in July 2007 and in January this year said the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy "stigmatised" Muslims.

Zaheer Ahmed, president of NAMP, said that the money was received quarterly and carefully regulated by his organisation.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The objectives of these two organisations are very different, so this comparison is misleading.

“The Home Office provides limited funding to a small number of bodies representing minority groups to ensure our workforce reflects the communities we serve.

“The National Association of Muslim Police bids annually for funding to help with specific outreach programmes, such as work with Muslim youths and women to promote careers in the police service.

“We also consider requests for funding from staff groups where specific projects fit with our priorities to reduce crime and improve minority representation within the police service. We have therefore also supported qualifying projects from groups such as the Christian Police Association.”


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