Church security – keeping a church safe and secure is a difficult balancing act. Whilst the leaders of the church work to make them inviting, open places, the protection of its congregation and contents is ever prevalent.
According to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc:
“Every day ten churches are likely to suffer from theft, vandalism or arson. This equates to an attack on one in every four churches during the course of a year.”
SS Systems look after many churches across the UK. We’ve prepared a quick guide to church security for you, but as always if you need any more advice please call us.
Maintain a presence in the church
Wherever possible it’s good for a church to keep its doors open so that people have a place to pray and worship. During that time it is good to have members of the church there also. This can include anyone from the person who prepares the flowers to the clergy. It can help to consolidate the rota systems to provide maximum “coverage” during open hours.
Ensure members know what to do in case of emergency
It is important that the people on the rota understand how to keep both themselves safe, and the people attending church. A guide to church security can be extremely helpful, the guide containing things such as emergency contact names & numbers, who to call in case of emergency and how to handle difficult situations.
Keep the church securely locked
When the doors do close, it’s vital to ensure the church is locked with a good quality lock which complies with BS 3621. Any valuable items should ideally be locked away in an enclosed, secure area (the vestry, for example). It may also be advisable to consider adding additional security such as bars or grilles to windows where valuables are kept.
Where there are high value items small enough, you may find its worth installing a safe in which to store them. Safes are often secured to the building itself to provide extra protection.
Consider installing CCTV
CCTV technology has improved significantly over recent years (for more detail see another of our articles on CCTV) and images from the system can be viewed via any Internet connection.
It can act both as a deterent and as a way of church members to keep an eye on the church building regularly when it’s closed.
External lead and copperwork is extremely vulnerable and expensive to replace. By installing a reputable roof alarm, churches can not only deter would be thieves, but also save money in the long term.
The systems are designed to detect intruders before damage is done, are able to cover large areas and don’t significantly alter the aesthetics of the building.
If your building or buildings contain a significant amount of valuables, then it may be worth considering an intruder alarm. These systems can be linked to other systems, such as CCTV, to provide a more rounded, secure solution. They can even be linked to a monitoring centre if necessary, so that police are alerted when the alarm is activated.
Fire Alarms for Churches
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stipulates that those responsible for public buildings, including churches, must comply with fire regulations.
This means that many churches will have to undertake routine fire risk assessments, identify a person responsible for fire protection and assess the fire safety risks in the building.