Freedom of speech, the Prevent duty and higher education

S 43 Education (No. 2) Act 1986 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) requires “Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government” of further and higher education institutions to “take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured” for staff, students and visiting speakers. The institutions must ensure, “so far as is reasonably practicable”, that use of the premises is not denied to anyone on any ground connected with their beliefs, views, policy or objectives. On the other hand, the Prevent duty in s 26 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires specified authorities – including relevant higher education bodies – to have due regard in the exercise of their functions to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 2nd April

We managed to avoid initiating or endorsing “fake news” on April Fool’s Day…

…although we did enjoy Bishop Paul Bayes’ tweet: “Anglican news: Sodor & Man annexes @LivDiocese. Bp of Warrington invokes Article 50. @paulbayes flees, demands Methodist/CofE citizenship“. However, at L&RUK we will continue to report on issues relating to Brexit, which has tended to attract “fake news” and misinformation from both sides.

Talking of which … Brexit

The Brexit process began on Wednesday, when the UK Ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, handed over the Prime Minister’s formal letter of notification under Article 50 TEU to the President of the European Council. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 4th September

A week dominated by headlines about ‘bouncers’ in churches (which we reported) and the C of E and sexuality (which we did not, until now) …

… and which, thankfully, marks the end of the “silly season” for news stories. However, St Chrysostom’s blog has provided us (and coincidentally, Thinking Anglicans) with one last example – Unusual names of the Anglo Catholic clergy – which complements its earlier On the names of Bishops.

Security in places of worship

Last week, National Churchwatch – a multi-faith organisation dedicated to reducing crime in places of worship – produced a helpful guidance note on Counter Terrorism Advice for Churches which caused some rather sensationalist reactions in the media: the Telegraph reported it as “Vicars told churches should have ‘bouncers’ due to terror fears”. There was also an element of confusion that it was advice from the Home Office – which it was not: the author is  Nick Tolson, Director of National Churchwatch, a former police officer who advises the Home Office’s places of worship security committee. But the headlines did make us start to wonder about the possibility of the Western Church restoring a redesigned Minor Order of “Doorkeeper and Bouncer”. We noted the guidance here.

Banning the burqa in the UK? Continue reading

National Churchwatch advice on security at places of worship

National Churchwatch is a multi-faith organisation dedicated to reducing crime in places of worship. It offers specialised advice on a variety of issues, including personal safety and building security. It began in April 2000 after several church-watch schemes sprang up around the country and it was recognised that there was a need for some coordination and a forum for the exchange of ideas. It is coordinated by former police officer Nick Tolson, who has advised the Home Office on counter-terrorism measures since 2012.

On 30 August, National Churchwatch published a guidance note on Counter Terrorism Advice for Churches. It should be stressed that this is not advice from the Home Office itself.

The note suggests a series of practical measures: Continue reading

Protective security for Christian places of worship

Yesterday we posted Places of worship: security funding scheme following the Home Office announcement of the award of £2.4M towards the provision of protective security measures for places of worship in England and Wales. In parallel with this initiative and in view of recent events in France, the National Police Chiefs’ Council has issued protective security advice specific to Christian places of worship, which we reproduce in full, below. Continue reading

Places of worship: security funding scheme

This afternoon the Home Office announced the Places of worship: security funding scheme for the provision of protective security measures for places of worship in England and Wales. The scheme is part of a wider cross-government work to stop all forms of hate crime, and bids for funding can be made for the next 8 weeks until 5pm on 20 September 2016. A second round of bids will open in spring 2017. Continue reading