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Church security - be alert, not alarmed

It’s essential to understand the risks Churches face and how best to make them safe for the future. Methodist Insurance is here to provide guidance and support to your church.

Every place of worship and its location is unique, which presents different challenges. That’s why a tailored assessment and response reflecting the individual risks faced is needed. 

Security plans should be developed to address the risks you identify. These plans should be regularly reviewed to ensure they remain up-to-date and reflect any location or site changes. It is important that the plan is compatible with any other plans for the property, for instance evacuation and fire strategy plans. Incident response and business continuity plans should also be developed to help deal with the aftermath of any attack. 

These special buildings are places of worship, meaning a balanced and proportionate approach to planning is necessary.
  • Steps to help you develop your response

    1. Raise awareness of potential security attacks amongst staff and volunteers – additional training may be required. A permanent diligence culture is critical. Attackers will often visit a building a number of times to plan their attack prior to the actual event.

    2. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police immediately. 

    3. Consult experts for guidance. Regional police forces are supported by dedicated Counter Terrorism Advisor Teams.

    4. Review security at entry points to your premises including vehicle access. Take a look at the appearance of existing door and window locks to see if they appear robust/suitable. Are internal doors closed and locked in the evening? Asses if any improvements are needed.

    5. Check that any current intruder, fire alarm or CCTV systems you have meet your individual requirements. Are there identified blind spots that need to be addressed?

    6. Ensure any appropriate background checks undertaken on new or existing staff and volunteers are carried out. 

    7. Make sure a formal and recorded search plan has been introduced at opening and closing times to identify any suspicious activity or device. 

    8. When arranging special events keep in mind that extra attention and precautions are required. Think about having dedicated staff for car parking and visitor conflicts. 

    9. Educate staff and volunteers on how to respond to suspicious mail, emails or unidentified objects. 

    10. Don’t make life easier for attackers. Never allow ignition sources or other materials that could be used in an attack to be left inside or outside the building.

    11. When developing your plans, consult with neighbouring businesses as they are likely to be affected by any incident that affects you. 

    12. Review your insurance cover to make sure it meets your requirements. Terrorism and Cyber insurance protection is available.   

    13. Ensure your business continuity plan is straightforward, up-to-date and addresses your needs. All staff and volunteers should be aware of the plan. It is important to test the plan on a regular basis. Make sure the plan is available and easy to use in challenging scenarios.  

    14. Should an event occur, ensure you have appropriate debrief and counselling support available for your staff and volunteers. 
Methodist Insurance PLC (MIC) Reg. No. 6369. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. Methodist Insurance PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 136423.