The Council Secretary has written reminding us that the '...Church exists as a place of welcome and hospitality. We welcome both friend and stranger. Being open and inclusive is not just something we do, but who we are. This means that we can neither shut ourselves away nor bolt our doors. We can, however, be vigilant and ensure that we take all sensible precautions in the light of experience. I have today received advice from Police Scotland on safety and security, which includes the following:
There is no specific intelligence relating to attacks against the Christian community in the UK. However, as we have seen, Daesh and other terrorist groups have targeted Christian as well as Jewish and other faith groups in the West and beyond.
Following recent events in France, we are reiterating our protective security advice to Christian places of worship and have circulated specific advice today. We are also taking this opportunity to remind them to review their security arrangements as a precaution. This is part of our ongoing work with faith organisations, as well as other sectors, to help ensure the safety and security of their staff, visitors and members.
While the threat from terrorism remains unchanged at severe we urge the public to be vigilant. Be alert and not alarmed and report any suspicious activity via the anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.
You may remember that my predecessor, Pauline Weibye, sent out a document in December which contained more detailed information about security, following on the attack on a concert venue in Paris. This was prepared by Police and is a comprehensive document of more than 70 pages. It contains a great deal of useful information, particularly in the Appendices. The Table of Contents also offers a quick guide to where you might find specific guidance you may be seeking. I have attached a copy to this email as it may be of use to you again now in reviewing your own personal security in the parish and in enabling others to do so. If you prefer to do so, you may use the url given here to access it directly, rather than downloading the document: You can access it here:
'Counter Terrorism Protective Security Advice'
None of this is intended to raise anxiety quite the opposite. The advice of the police is simple: Be Alert, but not Alarmed. That is both encouraging to hear and worthwhile to heed.
With all good wishes,