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Angel church regan king police going in PA aaron Chown.jpg
Angel church regan king police going in PA aaron Chown.jpg
UK News

Met Police ask London faith leaders to stick to lockdown rules

by Cara Bentley

A senior officer from the Metropolitan Police has written to Faith leaders in London to urge them to follow the lockdown rules. 

The letter from Commander Catherine Roper was written last week, ahead of Pastor Regan King holding a baptism service in Islington this weekend, but quotes in the press release mention "small pockets where religious venues have breached the regulations."

Commander Roper, who leads on Crime Prevention, Inclusion & Engagement, reminds Christian and other religious communities of the rules: "During the current restrictions, faith venues can open for 'independent prayer'. This is prayer that is not congregational or communal and so these cannot be led by a religious leader. However, there must be a risk assessment in place to show how this can be managed safely. We are aware that a number of faith venues across London have decided to close during this lockdown period and many are delivering services on social media platforms such as Zoom and Facebook. 

She acknowledges that the "overwhelming majority of Faith communities in London have made incredible sacrifices" but adds: "Upsettingly however, there have been small pockets where religious venues have breached the regulations, potentially putting people in danger of spreading the virus. This is deeply regrettable and, in the interests of public safety, we have attended those incidents and ensured that crowds are dispersed.

"As our city continues our collective fight against the virus, I would urge places of worship and Faith communities across London to observe the current restrictions, which includes faith venues being available for 'independent prayer' only. This is prayer that is not congregational or communal and so these cannot be led by a Religious leader. However, there must be a risk assessment in place to show how this can be managed safely."

Religious groups are also thanked for their efforts throughout the pandemic by the officer: "Without you, many Londoners would be feeling alone and vulnerable, and you are truly making a difference both in your own faith communities and beyond."

Regarding how the police will respond to rulebreakers, the Met says it will continue to use the '4 Es' approach: engaging, explaining, encouraging people to follow them and enforcing as a last resort. 

"Enforcement action will be taken in those cases where deliberate, dangerous and flagrant attempts have been made to ignore the regulations, as well as ignoring the instructions and advice of officers," the Met said. 

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