About a year ago the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds set up the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives.
At the time the idea came in for criticism and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins asked what was so special about faith communities that they needed a special liaison office any more than anyone else.
I would tend to agree that faith groups should not receive any special treatment over and above anyone else.
But in fact looking at the initiatives funded by the OFBCI over the past year it could be argued that the office enables these faith and other community groups to help rather than be helped.
Mr Simmonds has noted that such groups have a network of volunteers and resources and are engaged in activities that may help to reduce crime. Schemes such as the Street Pastors.
So it is possible that spending on these community initiatives could be a useful part of the drive to cut crime.
But since the office encompasses non-faith groups too, then perhaps the OFBCI set-up is more about the whole community rather than just religious groups.
Neil Pickford, Editor