Bouncers advise churches

PUBLISHED: 17:45 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:13 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH S churches are being advised by night-club bouncers on how to deal with boozed-up worshippers this Christmas.

EXMOUTH'S churches are being advised by night-club bouncers on how to deal with boozed-up worshippers this Christmas.

Church insurance company, Congregational & General, has struck up an unlikely partnership with a firm of doormen offering guidance to church workers.

Every year visitors miscalculate the inebriating affects of mulled wine - just before they go to mid-night mass on Christmas Eve - often spoiling the services for others.

Despite places of worship and nightclubs appearing to be poles apart, the skills that club doormen use to deal with drunken revellers, they say, could be employed by church workers and volunteers to deal with aggressive people or those under the influence of alcohol.

Mick Taylor, managing director of Protex Security, said: "The most important thing for church workers and volunteers in Exmouth when put in a potentially uncomfortable situation is to think rationally and avoid physical contact.

"Working on the doors on a Saturday night may well be a more extreme environment than carrying out duties inside a church, but the basic principles remain the same."

He said that by using 'non-aggressive behaviour' like showing the intruder open hands you stand a good chance of diffusing the situation in a quick and safe way.

Margaret Slater, marketing manager at Congregational, added: "While we don't want to be alarmist, it is important to be aware that occasionally incidents can occur in places of worship, putting people - often volunteers - in a compromising position.

"With little or no guidance provided for church volunteers, we wanted to highlight this by drawing on the experience of another organisation more familiar with dealing with such scenarios."

Advice includes ensuring colleagues know where you are and not being in the church on your own particularly at night; having a mobile phone or panic button and when you are alone in the church that you have a routine to lock doors.

Other advice includes assessing whether the intruder is drunk or emotional, if they are carrying a weapon, keeping your voice low and remaining calm, and if you know the person use their name,

Be empathetic and ask why they are there, suggest they leave the building, don't make sudden movements, maintain eye contact and don't be afraid of walking away from a situation.

For more information on Congregational visit www.congregational.co.uk


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