Safer Places of Worship

If a Crime Occurs

Advice on the procedures to be followed in the case of burglary or theft.

DO NOT confront criminals that you disturb.

You may be assaulted – a ‘trapped’ criminal may well turn to violence in order to get away.

Detaining a person suspected of a criminal offence can be dangerous and is not advised. Mistaken identity can lead to the person detaining the suspected criminal, facing criminal and civil sanction themselves and could find themselves being accused of using excessive force.

It is instead advisable to take down a full description of the person and secure any CCTV footage for the police.

  • use the nearest telephone – dial ‘999’;
  • memorise the description of the offender. Remember that brief, simple details are the best. Male or female,
  • approximate age, height, build, colours and style of clothing. Is there anything that stands out about this person? Are there any accomplices?
  • is a vehicle being used? The registration number would be ideal. If you are unable to get this, note the type of vehicle,
  • colour, part of a registration number. If a van, is there any logo on the side or back?
  • which direction did the person(s) or vehicle(s) go?

If you arrive at your building and find there has been a break-in, telephone the local police non-emergency number.  Do nothing else until an officer arrives.


Do not even try to establish what has been stolen until the police officer says it is all right to enter the building. After the police have done their work at the scene, action can be taken to put things back in order.

The police will try to establish the exact time and date of the offence and so will wish to speak to the last person to leave the premises intact and to the person first discovering the theft or break-in. They will also draw certain conclusions from other observations, such as the appearance of vehicle tyre marks.
They will be very interested in the method of entry and the manner in which property is removed. Additionally, they will wish for full descriptions of all property stolen, photographs if possible and values. They will also be interested in any property marking.
The police will wish to ascertain if anybody saw or heard anything suspicious, not only at the time of the burglary but also during the period that the criminal may have been planning the crime.

There may also be questions relevant to other areas of criminal intelligence or methods, which may appear totally unconnected with the enquiry. Please try to ascertain as full an answer as possible for the officer and keep them updated of anything you hear which may be relevant.

The police will do their best to recover your property and bring the criminals to justice. Their task, however, is not easy. The only help they have at their disposal is the empty scene and the goodwill of people who wish to assist. This is the reason we urge you to take the foregoing steps to prevent your property from being stolen.

If you need to make a claim on your insurance it is important to notify your insurance provider as soon as possible.

For more information on how to make a claim on a Congregational policy and to download a claim form please view the ‘making a claim’ section on