The Met Police have just sent out the following:
As part of this letter, the Faith community is thanked for their efforts throughout the pandemic, and asks for their continued support to encourage compliance with the regulations designed to keep everyone safe.
Commander Catherine Roper, from the Met’s Crime Prevention, Inclusion & Engagement Command, said: “London’s Faith Sector have showed enormous strength, compassion and hope to communities across London who have been deeply affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Without them, many Londoners would have felt alone and vulnerable. I would also like to thank them for the support they have shown officers in an effort to keep our communities safe and prevent further spread of Covid-19.
“London is at a critical point in fighting this virus and it is right that we all continue to take the right steps to look after each other, and comply with the Government regulations.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of Faith communities in London have made incredible sacrifices and found new ways, such as online meetings, to continue services and keep their patrons safe.
“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.”
The Met has remained in regular contact with Faith leaders in the run up to a number of important religious festivals for our communities. This engagement will continue in the weeks and months, particularly as the festive season approaches.
The Met will continue to use the ‘4 Es’ approach of engaging, explaining the regulations, encouraging people to following them and only 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.