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Preventing Crime

The Diocese of Manchester takes very seriously the safety and security of clergy, their families, and their belongings. In particular, the Property Committee is concerned that clergy homes are made as secure as possible within the available budget.

Fortunately, break-ins and other incidents at clergy houses are rare, but when they occur they invariably cause distress and leave victims with a continuing sense of anxiety and insecurity. There are steps we can take to prevent this, or at least reduce the risk.

What will the diocese do?

The Property Committee will ensure that, unless it is impossible to do so for any reason, the following security measures will be provided as standard in clergy houses:

  • window locks to ground floor windows (they should not be fitted to upstairs windows unless they are vulnerable to access via, for example, a flat roof)
  • locks to BS3621 standard, or, for aluminium or UPVC framed doors, a multi-point locking system or in-built mortice deadlock
  • a ‘spyhole’ door viewer in solid doors
  • external security lights with motion sensors
  • an intruder alarm system with:
  1. zones for night-time use, pets etc.
  2. movement detectors to ground-floor rooms and first-floor landing
  3. fixed door panic buttons
  4. key fob operation with a panic button

Since 2015 the diocese has assumed responsibility for the maintenance of intruder alarm systems and will arrange this through their approved contractor.

Additional security measures will be considered in particular circumstances, e.g. in areas of high risk or where repeated incidents have occurred.

If you have particular concerns about any aspect of the security of your parsonage house, please contact the Property Department.

What can I do to reduce crime?

There are many steps you can take to protect your home, and this list is not exhaustive. Comprehensive advice is available on the Greater Manchester Police website:


Make sure your home contents are insured to a realistic value. The diocese takes care of building insurance but you must insure your contents. It can be helpful for couples to have a joint policy so that either can handle a claim.

Doors and Windows

Keep all doors and windows locked except when absolutely necessary.


Always set the intruder alarm at night and when out of the house. Not only is this a deterrent, but you may find your insurance company querying if it was not set when a burglary occurred.

Valuables and Keys

  • Do not keep house or car keys in the property where they can easily be found, and never near an external door.
  • Do not leave valuables in sight, or in ‘predictable’ locations such as bedside drawers.
  • Keep photographs of your most valuable items.
  • Use net curtains or blinds to conceal computers etc. in the study from outside view.
  • Keep hedges and bushes trimmed so that the entrance to your house can be seen from the road.
  • Padlock or bolt gates that separate the front of the house from the back door or back garden.

Outside the House

Secure any external storage, with garden tools locked away. Ensure all ladders are stored away securely under lock and key.

General Precautions

Consider closing curtains and using time switches to control lights in some rooms when you are away (or out at night).

Burglars may work out when a Vicarage is likely to be empty, so co-operate with neighbours to look out for anyone suspicious and ask them or a churchwarden to deal with bins or post accumulating in open view etc. while you are away.

It is possible to register with the police a churchwarden or other suitable person as a named keyholder for emergency contact in your absence.

Do not publicise your absence on an answering machine message or email ‘out of office’ replies. The voice message should say, “We cannot come to the phone at present”. Consider leaving on a radio (on a ‘talk’ station, e.g. Radio 4 or 5) when you are out of the house, or operating it with a time switch.

What to do if your home is broken into

If you discover a burglary or criminal damage to your home you should take the following steps:


  1. If you become aware of a break-in while you are still outside the house, enter with extreme caution.

The intruder(s) may still be inside and you may be at risk. If you have entered the house, avoid touching anything flat, smooth, or shiny, or areas around any obvious point of entry, from which fingerprints may be obtained.

  1. Ring the police and follow their advice. The non-emergency number is 101; in an emergency dial 999. They will give you a crime number that you will need later and they will normally attend the scene as soon as possible. If you can wait at a neighbour’s house it may be wise to do so but make sure the police can contact you.
  2. Follow police advice to make the property secure. During office hours, contact the Property Department at St John’s House on: 0161 828 1421

Out of office hours, if possible check the diocesan website for the latest information about contractors to call out if emergency boarding-up is needed or locks have to be replaced.

Emergency board-up (out of office hours only)

Montrose Glass: 0800 888 6123 (freephone)


Keyfax Manchester Ltd (not 24-hour service)

During office hours: 0161 339 7500

Out of office hours:
Jason - 07801 482269
Darren - 07801 482267
Kris - 07860 271641
Jane - 07801 482271

Access Locks (24-hour call out): 07730 203005

As Soon As Possible

Contact your insurance company and follow their advice. You will need the crime number provided by the police. If a claim is made the insurance company will advise you. If a car or car keys have been stolen you will need to contact your motor insurers as well.

Contact: Property Department - they will deal with all repairs apart from emergency out of hours assistance. They will deal with any claim necessary under the buildings insurance and arrange a visit to discuss the parsonage security.

Contact your Archdeacon (at any time)

They can offer appropriate support in all aspects.

Later on

The police, insurance company, Property Department and your Archdeacon will all continue to offer support. The police may put you in touch with Victim Support.

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