Alert but not alarmed – advice to Churches following Normandy incident

Please see the following advice from the Metropolitan Police (circulated by London Churches Social Action) that is relevant to all churches in the UK.

London Churches Social Action

Dear London church leaders, Boroughs Deans and other church social action contacts,

Following the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in Normandy yesterday, Archdeacon Luke Miller has circulated a message from the Metropolitan Police to places of worship.

Church leaders and their congregations here in the UK should remain alert not alarmed.

There is no current intelligence to suggest any attack planning of this nature in this country.

However I know 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.

The full message from the Police is as follows;

“Following the terrible murder of Father Jacques Hamel in France today, and the attack on his congregation our thoughts are with their loved ones, his congregation, community and once again the people of France. We are again reminded of the indiscriminate nature of terrorism and the brutal and senseless actions of these criminals.

Other recent attacks have focussed on innocent people enjoying their freedoms, celebrating with their loved ones, and going about their daily business side by side with other communities of every faith creed and colour.

The police have been working with church leaders here in the UK to establish a communication network through which reassurance and guidance to the Christian community can be passed. This is a terrible tragedy but we must use it to test our ability to communicate to this wider network and I want to offer the following advice.

Church leaders and their congregations here in the UK should remain alert not alarmed. There is no current intelligence to suggest any attack planning of this nature in this country.  However I know 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.

Advice and guidance on personal security and security for places of worship, as with many other locations, can be found herehttp://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counter-terrorism-protective-security-advice-for-places-of-worship  on the National Counter Terrorism website.

In addition to this advice, commencing today, the Home Office are running a scheme for 8 weeks offering funding for protective security measures subject to application. Detailed information on how to apply can be found herehttps://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme

Can I also encourage you all to forge close links with your local police commanders who will be able to advise you further on sensible safety precautions. I know many of you will already have a strong relationship in place.

Additional advice can be found on NaCTSO website http://www.nactso.gov.uk
Run Hide Tell:  http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film
Suzy Lamplugh Trust: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Thank You

Neil Basu QPM
Deputy Assistant Commissioner
Specialist Operations.”

London Churches also commends the work of the London Boroughs Faiths Network in this area, not least its Safe and Secure Together initiative.https://lbfn.org/2015/10/09/safe-and-secure-together/

Canon Steven Saxby,
Executive Officer,
London Churches Social Action,
Room 309, Central Hall Westminster,
Storey’s  Gate,
SW1H 9NH.
Tel: 020 7654 3857
Text: 078 5555 1050

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