Police chief and Tower Hamlets mayor in security crackdown to protect mosques after Christchurch massacre
PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 07:09 04 April 2019
A top level meeting about tighter security at mosques in the wake of the New Zealand massacre has been held with east London’s police chief and the mayor of Tower Hamlets.
They met the Council of Mosques members on Monday at the East London Mosque to work out ways to protect worshippers and faith buildings.
“It’s important to talk to the community about their policing concerns,” Chief Supt Sue Williams said. “We’ll do all we can to help resolve those concerns.”
The head of the Met’s Central East division covering Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney discussed security measures aimed at reassuring community leaders about the support the police and the town hall can offer.
Mayor John Biggs has now written to the Home Secretary after last month’s Christchurch attack, when 50 worshippers were gunned down, urging him to open a ‘Places of Worship’ fund for tougher security for places of worship.
The mayor said: “The meeting at East London Mosque was to find practical ways to keep people safe and reassure the community.
We have come together as community to stand against racism and Islamophobia following the Christchurch attack. Our message is clear—we will protect the community against those that seek to divide us.”
An inter-faith vigil for the victims was held at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel with the Bishop of London Sarah Mullally and the mayors of London and Tower Hamlets the day after the massacre.
The government has since agreed to put up £1.6million made available to faith organisations to help them with security measures.
Cllr Asma Begum, Tower Hamlets cabinet member for community safety, said: “We came together as a community here in the East End to show solidarity supporting each other.
“People should be able to go about their business without fear. The Christchurch attack was an act of terrorism which deliberately targeted Muslims as they worshipped.”
The council is paying for a ‘designing out’ crime officer giving additional protective security advice and expertise. It has also earmarked £3million for more police officers to make sure there is a high visibility presence on the streets, backed by council enforcement officers on patrol, in the face of Met Police budget cuts.