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Church security - be alert, not alarmed

Churches face a number of risks, so it’s important to understand these and how best to make them safe for the future.  Baptist Insurance is here to offer guidance and support to your church.

Each place of worship and its location is one of a kind, presenting different challenges. A personalised assessment and response reflecting the individual risks faced needs to be undertaken.  

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, so 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, recognising if additional training might be required. Attackers will often visit a building more than once to plan their attack prior to the actual event. A permanent diligence culture is critical.

    2. Suspicious activity should be reported to the police immediately. 

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

    4. Assess security at entry points to your premises including vehicle access. Look at the appearance of existing door and window locks – do they appear robust/appropriate or are improvements required? Are internal doors closed and locked in the evening?

    5. Ensure any current intruder, fire alarm or CCTV systems you have meet your individual requirements. Address any identified blind spots. 

    6. Appropriate background checks should be undertaken for new or existing staff and volunteers.

    7. Make sure a formal and recorded search plan has been introduced at opening and closing times so that any suspicious activity or device can be identified. 

    8. When arranging special events remember that extra attention and precautions are required. Think about having specific staff for car parking and visitor conflicts. 

    9. Staff and volunteers should be educated on how to respond to suspicious mail, emails or unidentified objects. 

    10. Don’t allow ignition sources or other materials that could be used in an attack to be left inside or outside the building. Don’t make life easier for attackers.

    11. Consult with neighbouring businesses when developing your plans. It is probable that they will also be affected by any incident that affects you. 

    12. Review your insurance cover to verify it meets your needs. Cyber and Terrorism insurance protection is available.   

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

    14. Should an event transpire, make sure you have appropriate debrief and counselling support available for your staff and volunteers. 
The Baptist Insurance Company PLC (BIC) Reg. No. 83597. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. The Baptist Insurance Company PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 202032.