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The installing of a protective barrier of 12 security blocks at the front of York Minster began this month.
The adding of physical security, described as a temporary measure, at the front of the Minster, pictured this summer, was decided on by the Chapter of York, the cathedral’s governing body, after recommendations from the Counter Terrorism Unit.
The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull said: “The national terror threat level has been at “SEVERE” for many months and is likely to remain so for some time to come. Some experts within the UK’s security community believe that we are facing a generational problem which may last for 20 or 30 years. The appalling attacks in Manchester and London earlier this year have required all those responsible for the security of nationally important buildings, monuments and public spaces to reassess, review and constantly refine their arrangements for keeping people safe.
“Chapter has been concerned about the potential vulnerability of the area around the Minster’s West End for some time. The clear recommendation from the Counter Terrorism Unit required us to take urgent and decisive action to protect the area. The protective barrier will provide a physical defence and will be a visible deterrent at the front of the Minster. We have a clear duty of care to everyone who visits York Minster and we will do everything we can to ensure that our worshippers and visitors feel safe and secure when they are here.”
Approved by the Home Office and tested by the official Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the 12 blocks will form a substantial barrier. New flag stones will be cut and set around the edges of each block. No archaeology will be disturbed, the Minster adds.
The blocks are typically in use at landmarks around the UK such as the Tower of London and in Westminster.
For background on security at places of worship including guidelines for sites, featured in the October 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine, visit https://www.nationalchurchwatch.co.uk/.
York Minster’s ancient police force – the Cathedral Constables of York Minster’s Minster Police – this year were given the same powers as regular police constables, within the cathedral’s precinct.