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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Funding for police religious groups ends

The Home Office has announced that, as from 1 April, it will no longer fund minority police groups such as those established by Muslims, Christians and gays.

The National Association of Muslim Police received £90,000 between 2008 and 2010 and the Christian Police Association £15,000 in the past five years.

The Gay Police Association was handed £102,000 in 2009 and £51,000 last year. Also the National Disabled Police Association got £46,000 in 2010. And in 2006 the National Black Police Association received £180,000.

Zaheer Ahmed, president of the National Association of Muslim Police, said cutting funds would deprive the police of “important religious and cultural voices” and could see policing thrown back to the 1970s.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to equality and supports the development of a diverse police service, but we must tackle the deficit and the Home Secretary has been clear that forces must bear their share of the cuts.”

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “The police must be ready to serve the whole community without fear or favour. So, if there is one institution that must avoid sectarian bias and religious empire building, it is the police. The rise of these minority groups within the force has been a dangerous development, and we are very pleased that the funding has come to an end, albeit on grounds of cost rather than desirability.”

Mr Sanderson pointed to the cases of Muslim police officers refusing to guard the Israeli embassy and a demand from Christian police officers that beat bobbies should hand out Christian tracts when patrolling High Streets on Saturday evening.

“None of these demands is acceptable from a police force that must show itself to be even-handed in all religious and racial situations,” Mr Sanderson said.

Published Fri, 25 Mar 2011