Worship Watch is a Thames Valley Police initiative to reduce the number of crimes involving places of worship.
People find it hard to believe that anyone could attack churches and other religious buildings, but it does happen. The initiative has been run in Wokingham Local Police Area.
Reverend David Wilbraham, Thames Valley Police Force chaplain, said: “I commend Worship Watch as an effective scheme that enables the faith communities and Thames Valley Police to work in partnership as we together serve our neighbourhoods.”
Security advice for places of worship
Look at your place of worship as a criminal would. Please consider the following:
- What could you easily steal?
- Have you a photograph and detailed description of your valuable items?
- Are they marked with your postcode so that the police can return them to you if they recover them? Read more about property marking.
- Have you carried out a general risk assessment in relation to your workers, volunteers and building security?
- Put security as a fixed item in your budget. Every place of worship needs extra security.
- Security lighting can make your place of worship more welcoming.
- Ask your neighbours to ring police if anything suspicious happens at your place of worship. Tell them to call 101, the 24-hour Thames Valley Police non-emergency number. In an emergency or if a crime is in progress, call 999. Tell your neighbours that police will not mind if it turns out to be a false alarm.
- Invite neighbours into your place of worship regularly to tell them how much you appreciate them keeping an eye on the building for you.
- Allow your building to be used by other groups, if you can. A busy building is far less likely to suffer crime than an empty one.
Theft of metal from church roofs is a latest crime trend affecting places of worship in Thames Valley. We are taking every step that we can to reduce the impact of these offences upon our communities.
Read more about metal theft in our Crime Prevention section.