Safety in church
Here is the text of a letter sent by Bishop Alan today, 28th July to clergy and Readers in St Albans Diocese:
“I know you will be joining me in praying for Fr Jacques Hamel and the others injured in Tuesday’s terrorist attack near Rouen. We also pray for the safety and unimpeded ministry of clergy and Readers, wherever they minister, and also for the safety and flourishing of our congregations.
The police have issued advice to churches which asks us to be alert and not alarmed. They say there is no current intelligence to suggest any attack of this nature being planned here in the UK. The advice continues “These are troubling times and it makes sense for all church leaders to review their security plans and to encourage their flock to be vigilant. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately through 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.”
You may find it helpful to read these resources from National Church Watch on safety for churches and parsonages:
There is also further specific advice for places of worship available on the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) website:
Also more general advice from:
the NaCTSO website: http://www.nactso.gov.uk/
the film Run Hide Tell: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film
and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/
At the same time, the Home Office has launched a scheme, open for the next eight weeks until 5pm on 20 September, to provide some funding for churches to improve their security where needed, with 20% of the cost contributed by the churches themselves. The non-exhaustive list of examples of items covered by the scheme includes: CCTV; perimeter fencing; access control gates; bollards; door locks; window locks; intruder alarms; external lighting; security doors. The funding would also include the appropriate labour cost to install the security equipment, but not contributions towards: annual service charges, maintenance charges, or one-off fees such as connection or monitoring charges. Detailed information on how to apply can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme
If you need any other advice, or have any concerns about security or safety, please do not hesitate to contact one of the archdeacons.
Finally if you would like a message to give your congregation, you may wish to use this:
“We pray for everyone affected by recent events in a church in France. Church buildings are public buildings that are open to all. All public ministry involves being vulnerable to others, so security measures are good sense in uncertain times. Where there are known risks, churches take measures to ensure the safety and security of worshippers and visitors. We are alert but not alarmed.”
With my best wishes and prayers
+Alan St Albans