Protect Duty consultation
9 June 2021
A government consultation is currently open on the proposed Protect Duty until Friday 2 July. You are encouraged to review the proposal and respond to the consultation.
The Duty, as set out in the consultation will introduce new requirements on any public place (including halls, churchyards and fields) with a capacity of over 100. This is based on the capacity of the building, not the attendance or the level of terrorist threat with the activity. This will pick up nearly all churches and place demands on those running the building.
The duty is intended to be part of the response to the threat from terrorism, particularly after the Manchester Arena Attack.
It is important that churches, and those who speak for churches, respond to the consultation. It is not necessary to complete every question for your responses to be taken into consideration.
The Venerable Steven Betts, Archdeacon of Norfolk said:
“It is of course vital that we keep our congregations as safe as possible, but there is a real risk of government regulation which is inappropriate in churches and a diocese such as ours. We warmly encourage you to contribute to this consultation in order that the proposals which finally emerge will be practical, realistic, and proportionate.”
The consultation language mainly talks about staff, with little appreciation of public spaces run by volunteers, nor of the many voluntary organisations that operate from church buildings, who will also be brought into this duty.
Please read and respond to the consultation thinking about who uses your building and how the Protect Duty as proposed will impact you and other users.
The Archdeacon on London has written a blog where he shares insights into possible unintended consequences of the duty. It may help to read this along with the consultation document.
The consultation is here and is open until 11.45pm on 2 July. Please participate and encourage participation in the consultation.