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York Minster tightens security to deter terrorists

10 November 2017


Pivotal location: a street sign in outside York Minster

Pivotal location: a street sign in outside York Minster

WORK started this week to install a vehicle security-barrier at the western entrance of York Minster.

Acting on advice from the Counter Terrorism Unit, the Minster’s governing Chapter has ordered 12 concrete blocks to be let into the paved space in front of its west door to deter ram attacks.

The Dean of York, the Very Revd Vivienne Faull, said: “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.

“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.”

The Chapter tightened Minster security in the wake of the Manchester terror attack in May (News, 26 May): high-visibility patrols by its constables were increased, random bag searches were introduced, and large bags and suitcases were banned from inside the cathedral.

In a statement, the Chapter said that it hoped that the blocks “can and will be removed if the security situation improves in the future”.

In June, the Chapter of Westminster Abbey decided that they would not follow police advice to install similar protection (News, 16 June). The Dean, the Very Revd John Hall, said that it would be wrong to undertake measures “that would turn the Abbey into a fortress”, and that it would instead expand the numbers of uniformed beadles, its own “police force”.

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