Police give safety briefings to places of worship

safety briefing

Churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship are getting personalised safety briefings from the police.

Police are delivering safety tips and going through emergency plans with religious organisations to ensure people are – and feel – safe when they pray.

Last week anti-Muslim leaflets were placed on cars while people attended church services in Palmerston North.

All Saints Church and the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit both had leaflets left on cars during their services on Sunday.

The leaflet made claims Muslims had been deceived and included hateful remarks about Allah and the prophet Muhammad.

Andy Hickman, a minister at All Saints thought the leaflets might be connected to the churches holding services in solidarity with the Muslim community the weekend of the Christchurch Mosque shootings.

Police visited on Friday, to let them know that the person responsible had been caught and spoken to.

At Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque, police have also provided guidance.

“Police will still provide us with some security once the month of Ramadan will start, while also we discussed how we can have our own systems ready as well,” says Tahir Nawaz, from the International Muslim Association of New Zealand.

This focus on safety is being viewed positively by an expert in the field of religion and security.

“That’s a really healthy thing for New Zealand police to do,” says Dr Wil Hoverd of Massey University.

“I think there are broader community concerns about what happened in Christchurch – and being able to reassure other religious communities of how they can be safe is really important.”

The news item about this topic on TVNZ’s Facebook page provoked a large number and a great variety of comments.



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