Plan to help protect churches from crime

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A NEW initiative to help prevent criminals striking at Larne’’s places of worship is in the process of being set up.

Larne PSNI sector commander, Inspector Noel Rogan, informed members of the borough’’s district policing partnership that plans to establish Church Watch were in progress”.

““Posters are getting made and the scheme is being rolled out,”” he said.

Members had been pressing for the initiative after recent attacks on churches throughout the borough, including acts of vandalism and thefts of valuable materials such as lead.

Church Watch has already been set up in other areas throughout the Province.

It is likely the Larne initiative will follow similar lines as in other districts, with localised crime prevention information and advice shared with churches of all denominations throughout the district via email. Those on the contact list will be sent information on local crime trends, warning about bogus callers or particular relevant incidents along with police literature for display in church buildings.

The churches will also be given a specific Church Watch leaflet and poster so that local people are encourage to report any suspicious activity they see in or around church buildings.

Police believe Church Watch will help reduce crime against places of worship and reduce fear of crime as well as help develop better communication and relationships between police, churches and their congregations by providing a single point of contact.