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Attacks on clergy are ‘outrageous’

Not SURPRISED: Father Timothy Lipscomb, the vicar of Preston, said he was not surprised by the number of attacks, but said it is sad that the incidents occur

Not SURPRISED: Father Timothy Lipscomb, the vicar of Preston, said he was not surprised by the number of attacks, but said it is sad that the incidents occur

The number of attacks on priests and vicars across Lancashire have today been described as “outrageous.”

It comes as figures revealed there have been at least five attacks on clergymen in the county in the last five years.

Information revealed through a Freedom of Information request showed that a church pastor and a prison chaplain were among those assaulted.

In September last year a prison chaplain was assaulted and in June last year a church minister was assaulted. It has not been revealed where in Lancashire the incidents happened.

Father Timothy Lipscomb, the vicar of Preston said: “I think it is outrageous, I don’t think people should be allowed to do that. The vast majority of the general public are a hugely supportive.

“I think the trouble is you don’t really do an effective job as a parish priest unless you make yourself vulnerable. It is sad that you have to protect yourself to protect others.

“It’s completely wrong that people should attack clergy. I am not surprised, I think it is wrong and I think it is terrible.”

In November 2011 a vicar was assaulted, in 2009 a baptist minister was assaulted and in 2008 a church pastor was assaulted.

There could be more cases, but it isn’t mandatory for an occupation to be recorded when a crime is reported.

The Freedom of Information request was submitted by think tank Parliament Street. It asked police forces in England and received responses from 25 forces which listed 200 attacks over the past five years.

Clare George-Hilley, director at Parliament Street: “It is totally unacceptable that people who dedicate their lives to supporting communities and improving lives are subjected to harassment, abuse and violent assaults in modern Britain.”

 

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