“Security is crucial to any office, organisation or facility, but understanding how to get started in this field can be difficult, to say the least. Even in small spaces, there can be dozens, if not hundreds of moving parts that can confuse even the most established houses of Worship.
Deciding how to protect your church facility, assets, and the worshippers can be a process that seems nearly impossible at first. No house of worship is exempt from crime, whether committed by a worshipper, a visitor, a stranger or as a random act of terrorism. It is important to consider the threats and be ready to respond in a quick, efficient and effective manner.
Every building needs a way to keep unwanted guests outside, and most organisation or churches need to restrict access to certain areas within their premises, even to people who have already been invited inside.
Churches need to adopt a set of security measures with which to grant access to protected amenities to authorised persons only, ones that have been handpicked for this privilege.
These security measures should be introduced in accordance with a broader plan designed to protect your facility, resources, worshippers and any other asset within your facility.
Various security precautions can be implemented in a non- intrusive manner completely unknown and unobserved by the worshippers.
All these measures, working in tandem, make up your physical security strategy.
It is therefore important that churches have a safety and security awareness program in place to ensure worshippers are aware of the importance of developing a sense of personal security using best practices. Worshippers understanding of the church and personal consequences resulting from breaches of their safety and security is crucial to the success of the church.”
These were the exact introductory remarks by Mr. Richmond Yao Willington, a Police Sergeant, a Physical Security Consultant who is also the Executive Director for Strategic Integrated Security Systems Solutions, safety and security consult based in Kumasi.
Participants were drawn from the leadership of some satellite churches from Agogo, Mpasatia, Pokukrom, Kumawu, Aputuogya among others.
As part of the Personal Security Awareness Program, he took the participants through Residential, Workplace and Street Security, the Individual’s Responsibility, Principle of Personal Security, Personal Security & Specific Threats and Best Practices.
He also took the participants through Church Vulnerability, Surviving Violent Attack during worship and Best Practices in Securing Churches from Terrorists/Violent Attacks.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Richmond Yao Willington indicated that individual safety and security is important because both safety and security affect individual’s well – being and made references to recent happenings within our sub-region including Arbinda in Burkina Faso and parts of Niger and Nigeria where terrorist groups had to threaten Christians and churches to leave the area of face extinction.
Threats to safety and security come in many forms, ranging from deliberate violence to accidental injury. Violence and injury at their most extreme, threaten life itself, reduce the quality of life of the victim and, often those close to them.
He urged the participants to take seriously their security procedures to improve their safety and security. He encouraged them to say something when they see something and should not hesitate to contact the police.