HOME-PAGE           SITE-MAP          EMAIL   

 

 

Other pages on my complaint against Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and against a Sergeant of South Yorkshire Police:

1b. Same content as this page but in single column
1c. Alan Billings: Ichtheology, the Billingsgate Challenge
1d. Police and Ethics Panels
1e. S. Yorks Police: IOPC
1f. S. Yorks Police, PCC, Panels

See also:
6. Capability in education and policing

Pages on Christian religion and churches:

2. Christian religion: criticism
3. Arise! Church Guide
4. Abuse, safeguarding and the Churches
5. Street Pastors Guide


The material on this page will be revised and extended. The material I now have justifies a complaint against the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. I provide argument and evidence for this belief. Although the reasons are given, the exact wording of the complaint itself is not included as yet. It will be added later. This is a matter which requires great care, to exclude ambiguity, to express the scope of the complaint as exactly as possible, and for other reasons.

 

Introduction

 

'I merely encouraged my fellow South Yorks residents to vote for Alan Billings, the Labour Candidate.' Comment made in 2014 by Mark Russell, member of the Labour Party at the time and Chief Executive of the Church Army. In the same year, Alan Billings, the Labour Party candidate,  was elected South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Was it only the fact that Alan Billings, like himself, was a Labour Party member which led him to endorse Alan Billings? Could it be that there was a further reason - that Mark Russell was (and still is) a Christian and that Alan Billings was (and still is) a Christian? Did he feel that it was important that a fellow Christian should be the person elected as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner? That Alan Billings would be likely to guide policing in South Yorkshire in ways which were distinctively Christian, or at least in ways which were not purely secular?

 

I have no evidence that there was prior communication between the two, that the two knew each other well. I make no claims in this regard. I do claim that if Alan Billings, in the performance of his duties,  had scrupulously avoided any attempt to mention Christianity at times and in circumstances where mention of Christianity was uncalled for and unnecessary, then there would be absolutely no need to dispute his impartiality.

 

Here, I do call into question the impartiality of Alan Billings, not only in this section but in many other places. His mildness of manner does not exclude the possibility of recklessness in the least. I would claim that he has spoken, written or acted with a disregard for the possible consequences on various occasions, or multiple occasions. He should have been 'above suspicion,' but has failed to avoid the pitfalls which go with the post of Police and Crime Commissioner, a post which gives very substantial powers, exercised by a single person, without the system of checks and balances which are an intrinsic part of politics at the local and national level.

 

Commissioners declare their party political stance and have to be very careful to avoid legitimate criticisms to do with bias. In the case of Alan Billings, my criticisms do not concern any conflicts of interest arising from his membership of the Labour Party but conflicts of interest which arise from his post as a member of the Christian clergy.

I claim that the unsettling questions which I ask would not need to be asked if he had spoken, written or acted differently. The deeply disturbing actions, as I see them, of one Evangelical Sergeant of South Yorkshire Police, the subject of my complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, would have had no relevance to Alan Billings, if he had shown more caution, if he had shown the impartiality implicitly or explicitly required of him in the oath he took on assuming office.

 

More about the episode mentioned above. In 2006, Mark Russell was appointed Chief Executive of the Church Army. He left the post in July 2019. I have no evidence as to the length of time that Mark Russell was a member of the Labour Party but he was certainly a member of the Labour Party in 2014. A Member of the European Parliament at the time, and a member of UKIP made a damaging and baseless accusation against Mark Russell and had to apologize. Later, in another case, legal action was taken against her for more damaging and baseless accusations, ones she had made against some Rotherham MP's. She lost that action.

 

In the course of these events, Mark Russell said, 'I merely encouraged my fellow South Yorks residents to vote for Alan Billings, the Labour Candidate.' Alan Billings won the election in 2014 and of course has occupied the post of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner ever since then.

 

I am not complaining that Mark Russell acted recklessly by endorsing Alan Billings, but I think it is true to say that the endorsement adds to the complexities of the case outlined on this page and other pages of my site. The case involves actions by more than one person employed by the Church Army. I have no need to provide the information in this section. It is given in other sections of the page and other pages of the site.

 

So far as I know, Alan Billings has never endorsed the Church Army. What he has done is to endorse Christian belief, in ways which make him very vulnerable, I would contend, and the consequences are potentially wide ranging, going well beyond my own case.

 

Alan Billings is a Commissioner who is a member of the Labour Party. It would be entirely possible for a Police and Crime Commissioner to make mistakes arising from a conflict of interest arising from political affiliation but so far as I know, Alan Billings has avoided mistakes of this kind.

 

I give the evidence in other sections of this page, and other pages, that this is not so in the case of his Christian beliefs.

 

The form which I completed to begin the process of making a complaint asked me what I would regard as a suitable outcome. I gave the answer, disciplinary action against Sergeant Simon Kirkham, a Christian - someone who attended the relaunch of the Christian Police Association, together with Alan Billings and the Chief Constable at the time. Is it unthinkable that disciplinary action could be contemplated against Sergeant Kirkham. Will there be concerted attempts to protect Sergeant Kirkham, or to ensure that the complaint comes to nothing, perhaps because a successful complaint would tend to show some actions by Christians in a discreditable light?

 

I give a hypothetical situation. In ethical discussion, case studies which involve hypothetical situations are very common. They provide a convenient way of examining ethical dilemmas, of making more clear the advantages and disadvantages of different ethical systems and approaches. My page Ethics outlines my own approach to ethical issues, based on a close study of existing ethical schools of thought but presenting a distinctive ethical approach.

 

If, hypothetically, a Roman Catholic appointed Police and Crime Commissioner somewhere in the country, had published a Police and Crime Plan which included, inside the cover, in large print, a quotation from a Papal Encyclical or a quotation from the best known of Roman Catholic philosophers, Thomas Aquinas.

 

If, hypothetically, a Roman Catholic appointed Police and Crime Commissioner had included in his Christmas message on more than one occasion an account of the nativity which stressed the importance of Mary 'the mother of God,' in ways which would not be acceptable to most Protestants, mentioning, perhaps the Roman Catholic doctrine of the  Assumption of Mary.

 

If, hypothetically, a Roman Catholic appointed Police and Crime Commissioner had endorsed prayer, including prayer to Mary and to the saints.

 

If, hypothetically, a Roman Catholic appointed Police and Crime Commissioner had attended an event to mark and to celebrate a new Police Association, the launch of a Catholic Police Association, and the event were to be held at a Roman Catholic Centre, with the Chief Constable also in attendance.

 

If Bibles had been presented at the event, but  Roman Catholic Bibles, which differ from ones used in Protestant Churches.

 

If a person employed by a Roman Catholic organization had complained on multiple occasions about a non-Christian, despite the fact that the non-Christian had a complete defence against the allegations.

 

If a member of the hypothetical Roman Catholic Police Association had acted on the complaints by issuing a Community Protection Notice - Written Warning, and the action had been preceded by other actions, forming a course of action, a pattern of behaviour.

 

Then it would surely be essential for any police force which valued its reputation to leave no room for any doubt that despite the climate of opinion created by the Commissioner, certainly favourable to Roman Catholic belief rather than strictly neutral, then it would act in such a way as to leave no room for doubt that if the Commissioner had not shown a scrupulous regard for impartiality, the the Police Force would demonstrate that policing would not favour Roman Catholic interpretations any more than, let's say, secular interpretations.

 

If, on the other hand, a police force received a complaint which claimed bias, failures to give nearly enough attention to matters of impartiality, a complaint making a case against the Roman Catholic police officer, with a wide range of evidence, but took no effective action, then the action or lack of action on the part  of the police force would need to be scrutinized very carefully - would the hypothetical Roman Catholic Police and Crime Commissioner have the necessary degree of impartiality to do the scrutinizing? This would not be likely.

 

I think that this will serve to demonstrate some of my acute concerns in this case. Impartiality is important, of course, in other aspects of policing. If candidates for a post in the police service find that the person selected for the post is a Roman Catholic but that the person has obvious weaknesses, perhaps lacks essential qualifications for the post - again, the situation is hypothetical - then they will have reason for dissatisfaction - but if a Roman Catholic Police and Crime Commissioner has never at any time made an attempt to endorse Roman Catholic doctrines, has never even mentioned Roman Catholic doctrines, has shown complete impartiality in these respects, then a mistaken appointment cannot possibly be linked with the Commissioner.

This is a preliminary formulation of the complaint: 'Dr Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has failed to observe the impartiality which is not only expected of anyone occupying the post but is a legal requirement, by giving excessive emphasis to aspects of Christian belief. He has not, in this respect, observed the spirit of the oath which he took upon assuming office. Lack of impartiality may have effects on standards of policing and cite instances where the policing action taken could well be attributed to his promotional activities. He has also shown no sign of addressing adequately the concerns of members of the public in South Yorkshire who feel that to have placed so much stress on 'hate crime,' to have devoted so many resources to 'hate crime' is very much mistaken - I refer not to all forms of 'hate crime' but the form which takes minor (or non-existent) forms.

The amount of material I have available is very substantial. More of this material will be added to the page. The page is one of the exceptions to this, from the Home Page of the site:

 

I've been working on new, very demanding design projects. The time I have available for other projects is restricted. Pages I intended  to  revise / extend will have to remain for now in their present state. No further information provided for now,
with one exception: an invention which has now been awarded a 'Patent Pending'  by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

 

Another exception, another page which will be revised and extended to include the substantial new material I have available, despite the demands on my time: South Yorkshire Police: a Complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.  There is overlap between the material on that page and this page. Some of the duplicated material on the page 'South Yorkshire Police: a Complaint ... ' will be retained, where it provides necessary context. Other duplicated material will be removed. My intention is that this page will represent my main source of information, comment, argument and evidence concerning both my complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and my complaint regarding Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The earlier page on Alan Billings  also contains material which has now been included on this page. Again, I intend this page to be the main source and most of the duplicated material on the earlier page will be removed.

 

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel and the 'voice for all people of South Yorkshire,' Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

The material of particular relevance to my complaints is in the two columns to the right. This column is about different - but relevant - matters.

 

Material on the difficulties of contacting these two panels is provided in the third column of the page - some of the material is too wide to be included her.

More about the two panels from the information available to the public.

 

The Police and Crime Panel

 

 

https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-we-do/police-crime-panel/

 

During those four years, [the period when the Commissioner is in office, the period between elections for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner] I am held to account by the Police and Crime Panel. The Panel is made up of 12 people – ten Councillors from each of the four districts in South Yorkshire, plus two independent members of the public.

 

It is the Panel’s job to make sure I am making decisions in the best interest of the public, including decisions about what priorities are in the Police and Crime Plan, how much the policing precept should be, and the recruitment and dismissal of the Chief Constable.

 

I have to report regularly to the Panel to account for the decisions I make, or to be questioned by them and members of the public.

 

For further details about the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel please visit: www.southyorks.gov.uk

 

As explained, this link still does not work.

 

The Independent Ethics Panel

 

https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-we-do/iep/

 

The Independent Ethics Panel was launched in January 2015 to help increase public trust and confidence in the way police officers carry out their duties and to encourage greater public scrutiny of police operations.

 

The Panel provides independent and effective challenge and assurance around integrity, standards and ethics of decision-making in policing.

 

Detailed information about the responsibilities and the qualities expected of panel members and panel chairs is provided on the site

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-and-crime-panels/police-fire-and-crime-panels-guidance

 

In the extract below, note this requirement: 'Members are required to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, with ... the public.'  The extract gives the context in which this phrase is used.Panel members. I, obviously, am a member of the public,

 

Panel Members

Panel members are a critical friend to the PCC, offering a balance of support and constructive challenge using appropriate data, evidence and resources.

The statutory roles of panel members are:

Members are often required to interpret complex written material, including financial and statistical information and performance measures, to identify the questions they may wish to put to the PCC and other witnesses. Members need to establish and develop good relationships with the panel chair, other members, co-optees and supporting officers to identify and deploy specialist knowledge, skills, experience and expertise effectively.

At panel meetings, members ask questions of the PCC and any witnesses to contribute to achieving an open, accountable and transparent decision-making process. Members listen carefully and question in a way which is non-judgmental, respects confidentiality and helps the panel to make practical suggestions for improvements in services.

Members take a balanced, objective and open-minded approach, challenging constructively but without becoming confrontational. Members must often rise above the detail and view issues from a wider, more strategic and forward-looking perspective, making any appropriate linkages. In order to do this, they must develop a good understanding of the PCC’s responsibilities and their Police and Crime Plan commitments. Members of a Police, Fire and Crime Panel must develop a good understanding of the Fire and Rescue Plan, and may wish to consider co-opting members with fire knowledge to help them.

Members are required to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, with other members of the panel, the PCC, representatives of partner organisations and the public. Members often assist in the preparation of reports and the formulation of recommendations for the PCC.

The phrase in the extract, 'making any appropriate linkages' is of interest to me, as the organizing principle of my Website is 'linkage and contrast,' as I mention on the Home Page.

Panel Chairs

In this extract, note the phraseology of

 'scrutinising plans and decisions to support and challenge the PCC.' and 'deliver consistently effective scrutiny of PCCs within their local context.'

The extract:

Chairs manage panel meetings in a non-partisan way, concentrating on scrutinising plans and decisions to support and challenge the PCC. 

Chairs  have an important role to ensure that members of the public feel welcome, understand the meeting purpose and recognise how they can contribute.

As well as providing direction and enabling decisions to be reached, chairs also ensure that follow-up actions are taken outside of panel meetings, and that panel resources are used in the most effective way. This includes developing good working relationships with the panel, and identifying and deploying specialist knowledge, skills, experience and expertise to deliver consistently effective scrutiny of PCCs within their local context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Christianity and nursing, christianity and policing

 

First, I cite a case which has relevance to many of the issues raised by the actions of Sergeant Simon Kirkham and his involvement in the Christian Police Association, the subject of my complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, now being processed by the Professional Standards Department of South Yorkshire Police, and some actions of Dr Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, A Church of England cleric and writer on Christian belief and the Church, who is the subject of my present complaint.

The case is a very important case, I have reason for thinking, but is no more than a starting point for the discussion here, which is based upon wide-ranging argument and evidence, so much so that this constitutes a preliminary rather than anything like an exhaustive discussion.

From the page

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6e7888fb-a87f-430a-bc29-a2e11414a267

'In Kuteh v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, the Court of Appeal held that a nurse was fairly dismissed for gross misconduct when she had continued to initiate inappropriate conversations about religion with patients following a management instruction not to do so.

'Mrs Kuteh is a Christian who worked for Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust as a nurse, with responsibility for assessing patients who were due to undergo surgery. This involved asking about their religion. Following complaints from several patients that Mrs Kuteh had initiated unwanted religious discussions with them during their assessments, she was given an instruction not to discuss religion with patients again unless requested to do so. However, there were three further incidents: one patient complained that she had given them a Bible and said she would pray for them; another that she had preached at her; and another that she had asked him to sing a psalm with her. Following disciplinary proceedings, Mrs Kuteh was dismissed for gross misconduct on the grounds that she had failed to follow a reasonable management instruction not to discuss religion with patients; behaved inappropriately by having unwanted discussions with patients about religion; and acted in breach of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code by failing to express her religious beliefs in an appropriate way.'

In a wide range of countries, police officers take an oath to uphold the law. In the Republic of Ireland, each member of the force is required to make this solemn declaration when appointed,

' ... I hereby solemnly and sincerely declare before God that I will faithfully discharge the duties of a member of the Garda Síochána with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality ... '

In England and Wales, an oath taken by a constable is described as an 'attestation.' no mention of God. The relevant wording is

'I (name) ...of (police force)... do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the King in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people ...

The attestation, then, is in a form which befits a society which is not taken to be intrinsically religious, let alone Christian, and one in which the principle of equality before the law is regarded as very important.

Alan Billings too swore an oath.

On 16 August 2012, the Home Office announced that every newly elected police and crime commissioner would be required to swear an "oath of impartiality" before taking office. The oath reads:

I do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people of [Police Force Area] in the office of police and crime commissioner without fear or favour. I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public. I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice. I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public. I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest, nor encourage any police action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.

 

The then Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Nick Herbert said,

 

Police and crime commissioners will be important public servants and it is right that they make a formal public commitment to the communities they will serve. Although police and crime commissioners may stand for a political party,   the public will expect them to represent all the people in their area impartially, without fear or favour. The swearing of an oath will be an important symbol of this impartiality, emphasising both the significance of this new role in local communities and that commissioners are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate. An oath will also underline the particular importance of even-handedness in an office which holds to account the local chief constable and police force who themselves are bound to serve impartially.

 

Since his appointment, Alan Billings has engaged in what could certainly be construed as a form of evangelism. He has taken the opportunity to mention aspects of the Christian faith, to publicize aspects of  Christian belief in word and action. This requires the citation of quite a number of illustrative examples. First, his promotion of Christianity by his writings, then his promotion of Christianity by means of action. I will cite only one action, his attendance at the relaunch of the Christian Police Association of South Yorkshire, held at the Rock Christian Centre. This one action, however, had disturbing implications for multiple reasons.

 

His words:

inside the cover of the document 'Keeping Safe,' 'The Police and Crime Plan for South Yorkshire 2017 - 2021 (Renewed 2019) is this, in letters of large size:

"Seek the well-being of this place ... for in its well-being you will find your own" - Jeremiah, 29:7

This is an extract, one which distorts the meaning of the original. In the English Standard Version, this is the complete verse,

'But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.'

Christian Police and Crime Commissioner, and Dr Billings is certainly one of these, can pray in privacy or pray in a Church service he attends, but has absolutely no right to recommend prayer as a resource in policing, or to endorse prayer as a solution, an aid, for any purpose whatsoever.

 

In this instance, he omits mention of prayer from a text which should never have been included in this document. A Roman Catholic Police and Crime Commissioner who quoted words from a Papal document in a Police and Crime Plan would be equally mistaken.


He has endorsed prayer explicitly in another instance.

 

From a piece in 'The Star' newspaper, quoting Dr Billings.

 

 https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/opinion/todays-columnist-dr-alan-billings-keeping-our-streets-safe-464225

Dr Billings says, in connection with Street Pastors, '
Each evening begins with prayer, and other groups pray for their work even as they walk the streets.'

 

This is from the Website of Westminster Street Pastors.

 

https://streetpastors.org/locations/westminster/street-pastor-reflection/

 

One of these street pastors relates this episode:

 

'She asks me what the Bible says about gay people.

'I tell her what the Bible says. I tell her we are all sinners, that Christ loves us but cannot tolerate our sin. I tell her the story of the woman caught in adultery that was dragged before Jesus. I am praying all the time I’m talking.'

The answer was presumably  an interpretation of gay behaviour as sin. Street pastors are abusing their position if they attempt to preach to vulnerable people, or people who are not vulnerable. If a street pastor says that the 'cure' for gay behaviour is Jesus Christ, or that the cure for drug addiction is Jesus Christ - rather than, in this case - professional care or informed care, then they are engaging in serious malpractice. Dr Billings seems not to be aware that there's a serious problem here.

It was very, very unwise of Dr Billings to claim, in effect, that prayer can make a contribution to solving the very serious problems to do with policing in South Yorkshire - gun crime, knife crime and so many other problems of different degrees of seriousness but all meriting an approach based on evidence and consideration of practical measures, measures which have a chance of working and measures which are far less likely to be effective. His personal views, his private system of belief, should not have influenced this statement, now in the public domain. Putting such statements in the public domain runs the risk of adding to the misplaced confidence of individuals with Christian beliefs (even if their Christian beliefs have significant differences from the Christian beliefs of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner) that they themselves can influence policing in ways which reflect their beliefs. Such influences are surely harmful, not reflecting in the least the fact that Christians should have no more ability to influence or direct the policies and actions of public bodies than people with other religious beliefs  or people with no religious beliefs at all.

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire has taken it upon himself to sermonize. These extracts could well be taken from a sermon preached in a Church. In fact, they come from the South Yorkshire PCC Website. The standards which regulate Nursing and which were breached by the Nurse who was dismissed should be standards which are scrupulously observed by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Instead, he has shown no recognition of the need for impartiality.

 

The Minister I quote above said that

 

The swearing of an oath will be an important symbol of this impartiality, emphasising both the significance of this new role in local communities and that commissioners are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate.' 

 

Dr Billings should never have mentioned matters of Christian belief in those communications. For him and for believing Christians, Christmas is not the same festival celebrated by non-believers, if they do celebrate it. Christian belief, as opposed to Unitarian belief, entails amongst other things belief in the Incarnation, the belief that Jesus is God, actually God. In most cases, this also entails Trinitarian belief, a belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

There are many, many reasons why I think that belief in Jesus as God is completely mistaken, like other aspects of Christian belief. One reason is this: Jesus will have witnessed the degrading treatment of slaves, the buying and selling of slaves, the selling of slave children, of slaves of all ages, the splitting up of families, the barbaric treatment of slaves, including flogging and executions - but he never denounced slavery, his 'teaching' included nothing on the subject. He never taught that slavery was against the laws of God. In this indifference, he was followed by Paul - not referred to here as 'Saint' Paul. On occasions, Paul did mention slaves, but not to denounce the barbarity of slavery. From the Letter to the Colossians, Colossians 3:22

 
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

 

The reliability of the Biblical record has been contested vigorously. The discrepancies, contradictions and other difficulties make fundamentalist belief impossible for anyone but fundamentalists.

 

The Christian Police Association has a fundamentalist view of the Bible. From the Statement of Belief on the Association's Website

 

  • We Believe

     

    That the Bible, as originally given, is the inspired Word of God without error and is the only complete authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.


    Before I quote some more CPA beliefs, the CPA must believe, then, that these verses too are 'the inspired Word of God' and 'without error.

     

    Psalm 137, extract

     

    Babylon, you will be destroyed.
    Happy are those who pay you back
    for what you have done to us -
    who take your babies
    and smash them against a rock.

     

    Exodus 22:18

     

    Put to death any woman who practises witchcraft

     

    Over the centuries, Christians who believed that the Bible was the inspired Word of God and without error have put women to death for their supposed practice of witchcraft. Amongst the persecutors, responsible for torture and executions, was the King James who authorized the bible often known as the 'King James Bible' or 'The Authorized Version.'

     

    More from the CPA Statement of Belief. The belief


    That sin entered the world when man chose to disobey God and please himself. Since then sin has affected the core of humanity, touching every part of our nature and being.
    That it is only by God’s grace and mercy that the sinful person is made right with Him through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

     

  • We Believe

     

    That the soul of a person is eternal and that there will be a physical resurrection of the body for everyone who will then be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who have died having believed and received forgiveness will be raised, and together with those believers who are still alive, will be taken to live with Christ forever. Those who have refused to believe will be condemned from God’s presence forever.

     
    This view of the South Yorkshire Police Force and the public of South Yorkshire as sinners meriting - and receiving - damnation for eternity, condemned from God's presence forever,' is surely incompatible with the values of modern policing, incompatible with a wide range of values, including humanitarian values - but democratic societies may well need to take very strong action to preserve humanitarian, democratic action, including the use of force when needed.

 

It is striking that Alan Billings seems to accept that the New Testament accounts of the Nativity are reliable, that events too place just as they are described in the accounts. Alan Billings had absolutely no need to publish on the official Website of his office his own particular version of a particular religious text, one with dogmatic implications.

 

https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/news/christmas-message/

 

Before I give  an extract from the Wikipedia entry on the Nativity story, which gives evidence of the contradictions of the story in the Bible, and an extract from the Alan Billings Version, which treats the account as factually accurate, a few general comments on Christmas.


Most people in this country regard Christmas, surely, as a cheerful time. The Christmas cheer lasts for a long time for many of them. It can brighten the short, dark and dismal days to an extent. The Christmas cards that  people send and receive often include Christian images - the manger, the star, the shepherds, the wise men and the rest but more often don't. They show robins, holly, winter scenes, decorations. They're the kind of cards that I send. A great deal of Christmas music is very fine. The words are generally doggerel, the message not in the least fine. The Christmas doctrine of the Incarnation has a linkage with the Christmas doctrine of Redemption, which is cruel and grotesque. I've no need to elaborate here. The pages of the site concerned with Christian beliefs give the evidence in detail.

Again and again and again, in the period leading up to Christmas and at Christmas, Christians will try to insist that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, launching into mentions of the manger, the star, the shepherds, the wise men and the rest. Alan Billings has drawn attention to the Christian belief that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. He had no need to do that at all. Secular society celebrates Christmas for different reasons, unconnected with Doctrine. The Police and Crime Commissioner should confine himself to Police and Crime in South Yorkshire and matters arising from his responsibilities. His attempt wasn't subtle but blatant. It wasn't a tiny mistake but a blunder.

An extract from the Wikipedia account of the Nativity:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_of_Jesus

 

 

Only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke  offer narratives regarding the birth of Jesus. Both rely heavily on the Hebrew scriptures, indicating that they both regard the story as part of Israel's salvation history, and both present the God of Israel as controlling events. Both agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the reign of King Herod, that his mother was named Mary and that her husband Joseph was descended from King David (although they disagree on details of the line of descent), and both deny Joseph's biological parenthood while treating the birth, or rather the conception, as divinely effected.

Beyond this, they agree on very little. Joseph dominates Matthew's and Mary dominates Luke's, although the suggestion that one derives from Joseph and the other from Mary is no more than a pious deduction.Matthew implies that Joseph already has his home in Bethlehem, while Luke states that he lived in Nazareth.In Matthew the angel speaks to Joseph, while Luke has one speaking to Mary. Only Luke has the stories surrounding the birth of John the Baptist  the census of Quirinius, the adoration of the shepherds and the presentation in the Temple on the eighth day; only Matthew has the wise men, the star of Bethlehem, Herod's plot, the massacre of the innocents and the flight into Egypt. The two itineraries are quite different, Matthew's Holy Family beginning in Bethlehem, moving to Egypt following the birth, and settling in Nazareth, while in Luke they begin in Nazareth, journey to Bethlehem for the birth, and an immediate return to Nazareth. The two accounts cannot be harmonised into a single coherent narrative ... 

C. T. Ruddick Jr. writes that Luke's birth narratives of Jesus and John were modeled on passages from Genesis, chapters 27–43 Regardless, Luke's nativity depicts Jesus as a savior for all people, tracing a genealogy all the way back to Adam, 


From the Alan Billings version of the Nativity:

'There are two versions of the birth of Christ in the New Testament: in the gospels of St Luke and St Matthew. Luke’s story is one of peace and joy. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be registered and Mary’s baby is born in a stable because there is no room for them in the inn. But neighbouring shepherds are encouraged by an angelic choir to visit the stable. Eight days later the boy is circumcised and the family visit the temple in Jerusalem to give thanks. All is peace and joy. This is the version that we mainly carry in our heads.'

'But St Matthew’s gospel paints a darker picture. Mary gives birth at home in Bethlehem and receives a visit from wise men who have been following a star in search of the king of the Jews. They bring strange gifts, especially myrrh, associated with death. The actual king of the Jews, Herod, has told the wise men to let him know if they find this king so that he can come and  worship him as well. When they fail to return the king tries to kill the child by ordering the slaughter of every boy in the district aged two or under. The massacre of the innocents. The holy family escape into Egypt and spend two years there as refugees until it’s safe to return. Even so, they decide to go north and settle in Nazareth. This version – apart from the visit of the wise men – we mainly shut out of our heads ...'

And another sermon of Dr Billings. An extract from the page

https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/news/happy-christmas-2018/

' ... the attitudes and values that Christmas encourages are key for creating good relationships between all people in every community. If we all lived in these ways, our life would be happier and the world would be a better place.'

There is a mountain of evidence which casts doubt upon this naive view.

As supplementary material, I'll quote now a comment now I wrote which was published on the site 'Conservative Woman.' It follows an article by an Evangelical Christian - the views of the Christian Police Association are also evangelical.

 

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/mocked-reviled-and-pelted-with-eggs-a-christian-on-the-pride-front-line/


[The 'mocked, reviled and pelted with eggs Pastor here was protesting against a Gay Pride Event.]

From the Pastor's article: 'A video report on Sky News used the term ‘religious bigotry’ to describe our Christian testimony. Whatever happened to impartial reporting? Why did the reporter not come over to us and ask some questions? She would have found out that we are perfectly capable of engaging in civilised debate.

 

If the Pastor ever made use of the opportunity to have a 'civilized debate' with Sky News about homosexuality, I'd recommend to Sky News asking him for a comment on the material to be found in the Wikipedia 'List of people executed for homosexuality in Europe.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

 

If homosexuals loathe his orthodox views on homosexuality, it has something to do with awareness of what orthodox Christians have done to homosexuals over the centuries. They would loathe them even more the more they know about the horrific facts. Among the punishments mentioned in the article, including some from this country:

 

A German cross-dressing lesbian executed for heresy against nature
They were pierced in their tongues, hanged and burned; they were also charged with blasphemy.
German from Augsburg; burned in Rome with 3 heretics
From Augsburg; one burned, other 4 (all ecclesiastics) bound hand and foot in a wooden cage to starve[
both drowned in a barrel
Lesbian, drowned
Burned at Tudela for "heresy with his body"

And from the UK:

His trial was at the Old Bailey in November, where he was convicted of having "a venereal affair" with James Hankinson. He was hanged at Newgate. He was hanged with a forger, Ann Hurle - they were led out of Debtor's Door and rather than the New Drop they were hanged by a cart being driven from under them.
"Spershott's hanging was perhaps the last occasion at which was performed the folk ritual of the hangman passing the dead man's hands over the neck and bosoms of young women as a cure for glandular enlargements."
The last two men to be hanged for homosexuality in England. [1835]

Is Pastor Peter Simpson perfectly capable of engaging in civilized debate or perfectly capable of becoming evasive when confronted by harsh realities?


I think that the Christian Police Association is perfectly capable of becoming evasive when confronted by harsh realities.

 

If a senior Administrator in the Health Service had published pronouncements in official Websites or other official publications which contained such advocacy for Christian beliefs - beliefs which are far from harmless in many cases, I hope to have demonstrated - then the behaviour would surely have been treated as a serious matter and there would have been repercussions, including the distinct possibility and perhaps the near certainty of dismissal.

 

I urge the members of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel and the members of the South Yorkshire Independent Ethics Panel to treat the matter as one to be investigated thoroughly and to consider very carefully their course of action. I realize that the Independent Ethics Panel has no powers to make decisions but only the ability to make recommendations to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable. They are able to scrutinize the work of the Commissioner. Just as the Police and Crime Commissioner has to scrutinize the work of South Yorkshire Police, including the work of the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Panel and the Ethics Panel have to scrutinize the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner. These members will surely agree that their posts are not sinecures. The members of these panels are not immune from scrutiny themselves. Their actions (and inaction, if necessary) can be subjected to informed criticism (if necessary) and the criticism can be publicized (if necessary.)

 

By his pronouncements on Christian religion, Alan Billings has given a misleading impression, the impression that Christianity maintains a central place in the life of the country, that Christian observance is a mainstream activity.

 

Some findings from a report, WIN/Gallup Survey (2014)/Pew Forum Surveys (2015-17)

UK Church membership has declined from 10.6 million in 1930 to 5.5 Million in 2010, or as a percentage of the population; from about 30% to 11.2%. By 2013, this had declined further to 5.4 million (10.3%). 

 

A 2014 survey of approximately 64,000 people in 65 countries revealed the UK to be one of the world's most irreligious countries, with only 30% of those surveyed identifying as 'religious'. In contrast, 13% said they were convinced atheists and 53% of those surveyed said they were not religious.

BSA data indicates that, over the period 1983 to 2014 :

1. The Church of England population has nearly halved (from 16.5m to 8.6m);
2. The Catholic population has remained relatively steady (from 4.1 to 4m);
3. Non-Christian religious numbers have increased five-fold (from 0.8m to 4m);
4. Persons of no religious affiliation have nearly doubled (from 12.8m to 24.7m).

In the mid-1980s, there were 1.26 million active congregational members in the Church of England. That number fell to 722,000 by 2019, which is the latest year for which the Church has released figures.

 

The Church of England has hemorrhaged just over half a million worshippers in just over 30 years, a decline of just over 40%

 

That tells us something particularly worrying for those concerned for the Church of England — namely that the decline in worshippers is vastly outstripping the decline in the number of churches.

 

A smaller and rapidly declining number of — increasingly aging — congregations remain to maintain over 15,000 Anglican church buildings, many of which are themselves falling into disrepair.

 

Meanwhile, official Church of England statistics show that the median congregation size is just 27 souls.

 

How realistic is it to lumber 27, mainly older people, with looking after a historic rural church or a crumbling Victorian edifice that needs increasing amounts of money simply to satisfy Health and Safety regulations?

 

The inevitable conclusion is that the number of churches closing will inevitably increase in the coming decades — and almost certainly speed up.

 

My anecdotal experience is that considerable numbers of Church of England churches are clinging by their fingertips to their very existence.

Leadership roles remain unfilled, necessary work deferred through lack of funds, and the residual funds already spent.

 

Such parishes are one hefty repair bill away from closure.

Is anything being done to reverse the trend?

It’s not that the Church of England has been blind to the coming storm.

The Church’s governing body, the General Synod, pumped £248 million into the Reform and Renewal program in the second half of the 2010s to attempt to stem the decline in worshippers.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, admitted that this injection of money — targeted to supporting churches in the country's most deprived areas and to plant new congregations — “has not worked.”

 

None of this will come as a surprise to those with a keen eye on societal trends.

 

The evidence for secularisation, and the declining role of the national Church, is compelling. Figures from the census taken every ten years in the UK show that the numbers of those self-identifying as “Christian” in the UK fell from 66% to 38% in the same time frame.

While there has been a slight rise in the number of people attending newly formed independent charismatic churches — fuelled largely by immigration — traditional denominations have all shown a sharp decline in affiliation.

 

By 2018, only 12% of the population of Britain identified as belonging to the Church of England or its partner churches in Scotland and Wales.

The historic residual cultural affiliation to the Church of England is now in free fall.

 

This is almost certainly going to speed up as all the figures point to the increasing disdain towards the established Church amongst younger people.

The generation of Church of England members who have faithfully supported the organization throughout much of the 20th century is now passing. They are NOT being replaced by younger members, meaning that many parishes cannot locate suitable people to fill the roles necessary to maintain a functioning parish church.

 

Increasingly, this leads to a “back to the wall” mentality where survival is the only agenda.

There is precious little energy or resources for mission and growth when the building is crumbling, and every available pound is being directed towards staving off closure.

 

So what can be done?

 

I wish I could offer words of solace. But, alas, I cannot. The Church has already attempted the most obvious solutions.

 

The Church declared the 1990s as “The Decade of Evangelism,” with various projects birthed to promote evangelism and church growth.

But as author Cole Moreton points out:

When the Decade of Evangelism ended in 2000, there were a million fewer people going to church in England than when the big push started

The stable door was closed, but the horse had already bolted.

 

We’ve already noted that the Church of England directed a considerable slice of her dwindling resources into the Reform and Renewal program.

It was money the Church could only spend once — yet there is no evidence that this investment reversed the decline.

 

And while the denomination is sitting on considerable assets of land, property, and investments, it is also responsible for the upkeep of the nation’s most extensive collection of historic “listed” buildings, which require continued upkeep.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the Church of England does NOT have spare money sitting around waiting to be invested into mission.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues.

 

The Church of England itself predicted the pandemic could see almost 20% of worshippers NEVER return to Church — which would be the most dramatic decline in attendance in history.

Honestly, this figure is likely to be conservative from my anecdotal observations.

 

Naturally, a fall in worshippers of that magnitude leads to an attendant fall in donations, which only leads to increasing numbers of churches becoming unviable and further cuts to the clergy.

In other words… a downward spiral.


I maintain that Dr Billings has used his prominent position in effect to portray the Church in a favourable light, to give a distorted impression of the Church, as an institution with far more importance than can realistically be claimed for it, in fact, to promote the Church and Christian belief, implicitly and explicitly. Statement of his and actions of his make it clear, I maintain, that he has not shown the impartiality which can be expected of a Police and Crime Commissioner - have not shown the impartiality which is required of a Police and Crime Commissioner. He has endorsed, even if implicitly, organizations which it was a serious error to endorse, such as the Rock Christian Centre in Sheffield. He had the option of making every effort to scrupulously maintain impartiality but has chosen not to. His favourable references to Christian belief and practices, the frequency of his references to Christian belief and practice, are evidence that not only has he failed to observe the necessary degree of impartiality but that it can be claimed that he has not adhered to the oath he took on assuming office.

Sergeant Kirkham and Alan Billings attended the relaunch of the Christian Police Association, as reported in the newspaper 'The Star.' (20 May, 2017.)

https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/christian-police-association-re-launched-in-sheffield-470835

Members of the public joined South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, Chief Constable Stephen Watson, officers and police support staff at the Rock Christian Centre in Carlisle Street.

Dr Billings and the chief were presented with specially commissioned South Yorkshire Police crested bibles by Thomas of Gideons International. Sergeant Simon Kirkham, a Rotherham police officer, delivered the reading to around 150 colleagues, support staff and members of the public who enjoyed music from the worship band.

 

Sergeant Kirkham has Conservative Evangelical beliefs. The beliefs endorsed by the Christian Police Association, the Rock Christian Centre and the Gideons are Conservative Evangelical beliefs, which include the belief that all people - including the people of South Yorkshire and colleagues of Simon Kirkham (and of Alan Billings) are destined to hell if they do not accept Jesus as their personal lord and saviour.


Does Alan Billings suppose that the belief of the Rock Christian Centre, and the beliefs of those others, are irrelevant? Would he have attended an event at a place which promotes hideous beliefs of a non-Christian kind?

Was Dr Billings aware that at the time he attended this event at the Rock Christian Centre, the Centre had no person responsible for safeguarding? It does have one now. I very much hope that enquiries will be made, by the Police and Crime Panel, the Independent Ethics Panel, or Dr Billings himself. It isn't likely that Rock Christian Centre would respond to a query made by me. I strongly believe in the importance of documentation which is as thorough as possible, taking into account such constraints as the time available. I think it would be important to find out when the decision was made by Rock Christian Centre to appoint a Safeguarding Officer, an appointment which should have been made long before. Of course, making an appointment does not guarantee that the person appointed has the skills and qualities necessary for such a post.


Churches, including Churches in South Yorkshire,  began appointing Safeguarding Officers not solely as a response to well-publicized and very disturbing cases of abuse and abuse which went on for very long periods of time perpetrated by non-Christians. There have been very serious cases of abuse - and abuse which went on for long periods of time - perpetrated by Christians. The evidence is substantial - massive. In many cases, the evidence that emerged at the time was ignored by Church authorities and others, including, too often, police forces. Any supposition that Christians cannot possibly be responsible for abuse or only very rarely is contradicted by the facts.

This is yet another reason for giving no preferential treatment to Christian faith and to Christians, a reason for maintaining strict impartiality. And similarly for issues which have nothing to do with abuse. If a Christian makes a complaint against a non-Christian, then the police should observe the principle of equality before the law, better expressed in this instance as equality of treatment.


I provide next a long section, an extract from my page on Church Abuse, a page which is very much in need of revision and extension, as well as deletion of material which since publication has now been published on other pages. When time permits, I will carry out the necessary revision, extension and deletion. The extract conveys yet more reasons for my view that Alan Billings, whilst giving the appearance of openness, has failed to take into account large areas of Christian practice, or has been very selective in the material he has chosen to publicize, omitting material which is relevant but which would not fit his narrative. Dr Billings seems from his public pronouncements to have not nearly enough insight into the murky world of behind-the-scenes scheming and cover-ups. I think that his view of the world is too much influenced by certain naive views, which coexist with much more realistic attitudes. These are in evidence in his book 'The Dove, the Fig-Leaf and the Sword: Why Christianity changes its mind about war.' This is not an original contribution to the subject, I have reason to think, but as a contribution to summarizing, it is an achievement.

The extracts below make mention of the role of police forces in these matters but the police emerge with credit from these episodes, unlike many in positions of authority in the Church. It seems to me - I have good reason for thinking - that South Yorkshire Police  too shows this same admixture of naive views, very naive views, and realism, a very high degree of realism. Police forces need to abandon any tendency to naive views in their dealings with the church - including, of course, this case, in which the intersection of policing and the ecclesiastical is a very important aspect.

First of all, some additional material, from the page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sentamu

 

'In May 2016 Sentamu was one of six bishops accused of procedural misconduct by a survivor of child sex abuse (the accusation was to do with how the complaint was handled; none of the six were involved in the abuse). Sentamu was named in The Guardian and the Church Times alongside Peter Burrows, Steven Croft, Martyn Snow, Glyn Webster and Roy Williamson, as subject of Clergy Disciplinary Measure complaints owing to their inaction on the survivor's disclosure. The bishops contested the complaints because they were made after the church's required one-year limit. Sentamu had acknowledged receipt of a letter from the survivor with an assurance of "prayers through this testing time". But according to the Guardian report, no action was taken against the alleged abuser nor support offered to the survivor by the church. A spokesperson for the archbishop said that Sentamu had simply acknowledged a copy of a letter addressed to another bishop. "The original recipient of the letter had a duty to respond and not the archbishop", the spokesperson said. All six bishops appeared on a protest brochure which the survivor handed out at Steven Croft's enthronement as Bishop of Oxford. In April 2018 it was reported that Sentamu and four other bishops were under investigation by South Yorkshire Police for failure to respond properly to a report of clerical child abuse. A memo from June 2013, seen by The Times and other media revealed that Sentamu had received the allegation but recommended that 'no action' be taken. The priest against whom the allegation was made died by suicide the day before he was due in court in June 2017. The Archbishop of York's office said:

The diocese of York insists that Sentamu did not fail to act on any disclosures because that responsibility lay with Ineson's local bishop, Steven Croft, who was at the time bishop of Sheffield.

A Guardian editorial contrasted Archbishop Sentamu's response to a statement from Archbishop Welby at IICSA, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in which Justin Welby stated

It is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response to say “I have heard about a problem, but … it was someone else’s job to report it”.

Matt Ineson, the victim and survivor at the heart of the case, has called for the resignations of Archbishop Sentamu and Bishop Steven Croft.

 

Material from the page Church Abuse,:

A new book, 'Bleeding for Jesus,' tells the story of Smyth, the moral crusader who fought legal battles for “Christian values” in Britain’s courts while allegedly mercilessly abusing young men at his Hampshire home, and the Iwerne Trust, which organised the “Bash camps” that were his hunting ground and which turned a blind eye to his activities.

 

...

 

The Iwerne project, which Graystone describes as a cult, recruited “young men who were the brightest and best from the most elite schools in the country to win them for the Christian faith, to create a church of purity within the wider Church of England”, he said.

 

It produced many of the most prominent conservative evangelical leaders within the C of E over the past 40 years. Many see themselves as “the guardians of the true gospel against the forces of liberalism”.

 

According to the book, their number include Nicky Gumbel, the driving force behind the highly influential Alpha course run by churches all over the country; David Sheppard, who played cricket for England before becoming bishop of Liverpool, and several others who became bishops. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, was briefly embroiled in Iwerne’s holiday camps in the late 1970s.

 ...

Graystone said the Iwerne project, in line with most cults, relied on three pillars: conversion, conditioning and coercion. Recruits had to “declare total allegiance to Jesus”, follow certain codes and practices, and observe “sexual purity”. He said it was “highly exclusive – this was not a movement for the poor. It accrued huge amounts of power, influence and wealth.”

 

Peter Ball, Bishop and abuser

 

The Panorama documentary on Bishop Peter Ball will shatter some illusions about the Church of England for people still in the grip of these illusions.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlY5naK1cAc

 

In 1960, Peter Ball and his brother  established a monastic community, the Community of the Glorious Ascension,   through which Ball came into contact with many boys and young men.

In October 2015, Ball was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment for misconduct in public office and indecent assault after admitting the abuse of 18 young men over a period of 15 years from 1977 to 1992. One of his victims, Neil Todd, took his own life.

During the trial, Bobbie Cheema QC said for the prosecution:

[Ball] was highly regarded as a godly man who had a special affinity with young people. The truth was that he used those 15 years in the position of bishop to identify, groom and exploit sensitive and vulnerable young men who came within his orbit. For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him.

The partner of Neil Todd's partner, Marc Hawley, said:

two years and eight months – for 15 years of sexual exploitation, abuse and grooming of young men who came into his orbit while he was the bishop of Lewes. I am more than glad that Peter Ball now resides at Her Majesty’s pleasure even though the sentence is far too lenient for the gravity of his activities.

Many victims have claimed severe lasting harm and Civil Court  action against the Diocese of Chichester was lodged in October 2015. A Church of England priest said that when he was a teenager Ball had tried to make him have sex considered an "act of commitment" as a condition of being ordained. There are allegations of serious corruption and cover-ups within the Church of England regarding Ball's abuse.

The Archbishop of Canterbury,  Justin Welby,  ordered an independent review of the way the Church of England dealt with Ball's case] but the Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group and Keith Porteous Wood were unsure if the investigation would be sufficiently far-reaching. Wood accused a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, of encouraging the cover-up and Carey has been quoted stating:

I was worried that if any other allegations of past indecency were made it [criminal action against Ball] would reignite. I wanted some reassurance that this would not be the case. … I was so troubled, that evening after dinner I went to my study. … I was supplied with a number of a man at the CPS I believed to be a director. I do not recall his name. … I rang him and asked what might happen if allegations from the past were made. … I was told quite categorically that the other allegations would not be taken further as far as we are concerned.

Wood commended Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, for initiating the inquiry. The Guardian's  crime correspondent, Sandra Laville, also wrote that Carey knew of the cover-up. Ruth Gledhill,   writing in Christianity Today, said that Carey intervened personally over the matter. Carey insists he only contacted the CPS after Ball had been cautioned.Abuse survivor Graham Sawyer, who alleges decades of pressure from the Church of England to silence him, believes that the church should no longer police itself.

The review ordered by Welby produced its report, An Abuse of Faith, on 22 June 2017, which found that senior figures in the Church of England had colluded over twenty years with Ball—Welby said it made harrowing reading, adding "The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour".

A former vicar,  Vickery House, was convicted in October 2015 and was sentenced to serve 6½ years in prison for sex assaults against men and a boy. House worked in the same diocese as Ball. House and Ball collaborated running a "Give a Year For Christ" scheme and both men abused three of the same victims during the scheme. If Ball had not pleaded guilty both men would have been tried together. There was a long delay between the first complaints to the police over House and a proper police investigation.

Ball was released from prison on licence in February 2017, after having served half of his sentence.

On 16 December 2015, the BBC   published a report on the Ball affair. Cliff James had told the BBC that he informed a cleric in 1992 about abuse he had suffered. James alleges three bishops later telephoned his contact urging her to discourage him and another stated victim from going to the police or to the media. Thirteen different bishops allegedly took no action after a person in the church raised concerns. Ball's housekeeper and gardener, Christine and Michael Moss, said that bishops ignored their concerns over Ball. Moss said, "What upsets me so much is the Church did nothing."

On 23 February 2016, the BBC published information about documents they discovered suggesting Ball's defence team tried during the 1990s to negotiate with the police and avoid a public trial. Ball promised to resign as bishop, leave Britain and retire to a French convent. Ball, however, stayed active as a priest until 2010 and remained in the United Kingdom.


 In early 2016, it was announced that Dame Moira Gibb  would chair a review into how the allegations against Ball were handled and why there was so little credence given to his victims, also whether the Church of England complied with its statutory duties. The review had been criticised because, among other reasons, it would take place behind closed doors and lack what was considered necessary transparency, and because it did not "specifically include the questionable role played by the Church in bringing undue influence to bear on the administration of justice concerning Ball's abuse"]

I believe that the Church of England review should add bullying and silencing of victims and whistleblowers to the terms of reference and I shall be making this clear to Dame Moira before agreeing to take part. (Graham Sawyer, a vicar and abuse survivor speaking in Feb 2016)

Sawyer stated in April 2016 that he was refusing to co-operate with the review because alleged bullying by high-ranking current church office holders would not be investigated. Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society said:

The institutional bullying and silencing almost succeeded in preventing Bishop Ball ever being brought to justice. The Church's obdurate refusal at the highest levels to specify them [bullying and silencing] in the Terms of Reference should ring alarm bells about the seriousness of its intentions to look at them with the requisite priority. Maintaining the refusal means the principal witness Graham Sawyer, and perhaps others, will not give evidence and this further undermines the validity of the Review. At least he will be able to give his evidence to the Independent (Goddard) Inquiry set up by the Government.

Gibb published her report in June 2017.[62]

The remit of the Independent Inquiry onto Child Sexual Abuse   includes investigation of the Church of England, and specifically of the Ball case and other cases in the Diocese of Chichester.  .

An independent review in 2017 found that the church's hierarchy, notably The Baron Carey of Clifton, colluded in concealing abuse by Ball over a 20-year period. Archbishop Carey had seven letters from individuals and relatives after Ball was cautioned by police in 1992, but passed only one (of least concern) on to the police. Carey did not put Ball on the "Lambeth List" of clergy whose suitability for the ministry is questioned. Concealing abuse was given higher priority than helping victims. The review stated that "The church appears to have been most interested in protecting itself." It also said that "progress [towards dealing satisfactorily with claims of abuse in the Church of England] has been slow and continuing, faster improvement is still required". Archbishop Welby of Canterbury said that the church "colluded and concealed" instead of trying to help "those brave enough to come forward", and asked Lord Carey of Clifton to step down from his role assisting the Bishop of Oxford. Rowan Williams  was also criticised.

Abuse survivor Graham Sawyer said the church treated him and others with contempt. He said, "The church continues to use highly aggressive legal firms to bully, frighten and discredit victims ... In my own case, I continue to endure cruel and sadistic treatment by the very highest levels of the church." Sawyer wants the police to investigate Carey's part in the Ball case.

...

Richard Scorer, a lawyer representing other abuse survivors, said that Lord Carey of Clifton, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, bears the greatest responsibility, and called on him to give a “transparent account of his actions”. He also said, "If a charlatan with an insatiable appetite for abuse wanted to secure a continuous supply of vulnerable young victims, there was no better way of achieving this than by founding a religious order not subject to any external supervision, and by making his victims' participation in the abuse a religious duty obligated by their oath of absolute obedience. Not for the first time, theology and religious ritual provided the ideal mask for abuse, with the evil of what Peter Ball did being compounded by his nauseating claim that the abuse was spiritually uplifting. Most of all, however, Peter Ball found in his fellow bishops in the Church of England the perfect accomplices, prepared to turn a blind eye to his abuse over many decades, to collude in the lie that the abuse of Neil Todd was an uncharacteristic aberration, to cast doubt on his guilt, to smear his victims, and to rehabilitate him."

.

Ralph Heskett, RC Bishop of Hallam

 

The Bishop isn't an abuser.

An article in  'The Star,' 11 October, 2021 with the heading 'A Catholic bishop in Sheffield has been accused of failing to report the sexual abuse of altar boys.' That Bishop is Ralph Heskett. An extract from the article,

'Bishop of Hallam Ralph Heskett is claimed to have known about a priest who preyed on altar boys in Liverpool but failed to report him to the police, with the culprit instead sent away to Scotland.'

'The trial heard MacCarte [the accused, who was found guilty] let altar boys smoke cannabis and drink alcohol so he could sexually abuse them.

'Prosecutors said he used his role in the church for his own sexual gratification and ruined children's lives.'

Recommended: a reading of the full article, available at

https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/crime/sheffield-bishop-ralph-heskett-failed-to-report-priest-who-sexually-abused-altar-boys-3413770

It gives the response of the Bishop.

So far, I've given information about sexual abuse in the Church of England, enough to indicate the seriousness of the issues, but I've given no information about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. This seems a good place to provide some, in the form of very brief extracts from the Wikipedia article 'Catholic Church sexual abuse cases. Consulting the page will give a much better understanding of the issues.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

'There have been many cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, nuns and members of religious orders ... the cases have involved many allegations, investigations, trials, convictions, acknowledgement and apologies by Church authorities, and revelations about decades of instances of abuse and attempts by Church officials to cover them up. The abused include mostly boys but also girls, some as young as three years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14.'

...

'In 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse   released a report which stated that the Catholic Church of England and Wales "swept under the carpet" allegations of past child sex abuse by numerous Catholic clergy in England and Wales. According to the report "there was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility" by Vincent Nichols,   since 2014 a cardinal and the senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales.[The report said that Nichols cared more about the impact of abuse on the Church's reputation than on the victims, and lacked compassion towards them.'

Highly recommended: a reading of the page 'Why Christianity' on the Rock Christian Centre Website. The page includes a video, 'Are you ready to hear this?'  I don't in the least recommend the page itself, or the site itself, that will be obvious.

 

Small actions, words which couldn't possibly be described as harmful, to people outside the circle of this sect, are treated as very, very serious - leading to eternal damnation, in fact, unless the person repents. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam are described in scathing terms. A few examples from the page.

Have you ever used God’s name in vain, as a cuss word to express disgust? That’s called “blasphemy,” and it’s very serious in God’s sight. This is breaking the Third Commandment, and the Bible says God will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Have you always honored your parents implicitly, and kept the Sabbath holy? If not, you have broken the Fourth and Fifth Commandments. Have you ever hated someone? The Bible says, “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer.”

The Seventh is “You shall not commit adultery,” but Jesus said, “Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (the Seventh Commandment includes sex before marriage). Have you ever looked with lust or had sex outside of marriage? If you have, you’ve violated that Commandment.

Have you ever lied? Ever stolen anything, regardless of value? If you have, then you’re a lying thief. The Bible tells us, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord,” because He is a God of truth and holiness. Have you coveted (jealously desired) other people’s things? This is a violation of the Tenth Commandment.

On Buddhism:

Amazingly, the religion of Buddhism denies that God even exists. It teaches that life and death are sort of an illusion. That’s like standing at the door of the plane and saying, “I’m not really here, and there’s no such thing as the law of gravity, and no ground that I’m going to hit.” That may temporarily help you deal with your fears, but it doesn’t square with reality. And it doesn’t deal with your real problem of having sinned against God and the reality of Hell.

Only Jesus can save you from death and Hell, something that you could never earn or deserve.

After urging the reader to pray:

The sincerity of your prayer will be evidenced by your obedience to God’s will, so read His Word (the Bible) daily and obey what you read.

The Rock Christian Centre has contributed a large number of YouTube videos, including a whole series of videos on the Old Testament Book of Leviticus. The videos show a member of the Centre reading from the Book. The text is shown. 'Show more' reveals all the extract, which is, of course, simply an extract from the Bible. 

From the Rock Christian Centre's video on Leviticus 20:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyAjdOLe1Ao&t=43s

[9] " 'If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. [10] " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife---with the wife of his neighbor---both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. [11] " 'If a man sleeps with his father's wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. [12] " 'If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads. [13] " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. [14] " 'If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you. [15] ... [27] " 'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.' "

Other videos on Leviticus - as well as subjects - contain much more obnoxious material. Of course, all of this appears in the Gideon Bibles presented at the relaunch ceremony.

What was Dr Billings playing at, attending an event at such a place? Were there no other buildings available for use? Of course, there were. Dr Billings has made many more or less mild criticisms of the Church. He seems to have studiously ignored criticisms which have the effect of calling into question his own beliefs, such as this, a criticism made in various places on this site: Jesus lived in an area which was part of the Roman Empire and controlled by Roman laws. Amongst the Roman laws were laws freely permitting slavery - the buying and selling of slaves, including slave children, the splitting up of families to sell slaves to different owners, very harsh punishements of slaves - severe flogging, execution. Yet Jesus never criticized slavery and in this he was followed by Paul (not referred to here as 'Saint' Paul). The Christian Churches for centuries, for almost two millennia, allowed slavery to continue. There was no 'Bible based' teaching to convince them to do anything different. Dr Billings, so far as I know, has never referred to this massive difficulty in any of his published works or any of his approaches to the media - or any of his presentations on Christianity to the public of South Yorkshire -  along with many more potentially embarrassing, but more than that, very serious issues.

Tricia Watts (the wife of the Senior Pastor of the Rock Christian Centre, Jon Watts) is the Co-ordinator of Sheffield Street Pastors.

My page on Street Pastors is at
https://www.linkagenet.com/themes/fefe-churchguide.htm

It includes a great variety of evidence, including evidence of street pastors misusing their opportunity to attempt to convert vulnerable people and asking vulnerable people to pray with them - but the documented instance will certainly be far exceeded in number by the undocumented instances. There's a section on Tricia Watts. The section on Newcastle Street Pastors includes this, from the section 'Doctrines' in the 'Statement of Beliefs.'

We are signatories of the Nashville Statement on human sexuality - please see for more information

 
https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/ 

 

Extracts from the 'Nashville Statement:'

 

Article 1.
We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous or polyamorouse relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.

 

Article 2.
We affirm that God's revealed will is for all people's chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
We deny that any affections, desires or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse outside marriage, nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

 

Article 4.

We affirm that divinely affirmed differences between male and female reflect God's original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.

We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God's holy purposes in creation and redemption.

 

Article 8.
We deny that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God's original creation.

 

Article 9.
We affirm that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and towards sexual immorality - a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality

 

Article 10.
We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transsexual immorality and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

 

Article 12.

We affirm that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

 

To confine attention to Article 12, this is audacious in its disregard for the evidence, the cumulative evidence, the massive evidence that many, many Christians who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour and have received a 'merciful pardon and transforming power' haven't been 'enabled' to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.'

 

I give evidence concerning one notorious area of failure, sexual abuse, in another page of mine 'Abuse, safeguarding, faith: the Churches and their failures'

 

https://www.linkagenet.com/themes/fefe-churchabuse.htm


even though there are many, many more instances which could have been cited.

 

Dr Billings seems to be unaware of the many disadvantages of Street Pastors. From another piece in 'The Star' newspaper, quoting Dr Billings.

 

 https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/opinion/todays-columnist-dr-alan-billings-keeping-our-streets-safe-464225

Dr Billings says, in connection with Street Pastors, '
Each evening begins with prayer, and other groups pray for their work even as they walk the streets.'

 

It was very, very unwise of Dr Billings to claim, in effect, that prayer can make a contribution to solving the very serious problems to do with policing in South Yorkshire - gun crime, knife crime and so many other problems of different degrees of seriousness but all meriting an approach based on evidence and consideration of practical measures, measures which have a chance of working and measures which are far less likely to be effective. His personal views, his private system of belief, should not have influenced this statement, now in the public domain. Putting such statements in the public domain runs the risk of adding to the misplaced confidence of individuals with Christian beliefs (even if their Christian beliefs have significant differences from the Christian beliefs of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner) that they themselves can influence policing in ways which reflect their beliefs.

 

Such influences are surely harmful, not reflecting in the least the fact that Christians should have no more ability to influence or direct the policies and actions of public bodies than people with other religious beliefs  or people with no religious beliefs at all.

 

His public stance on Christianity may well have influenced Sergeant Kirkham, the Christian police officer who instigated action against me after a complaint by a Christian, a complaint which has had disastrous consequences. In an email to Sergeant Kirkham I suggested that if the complainant had not been a Christian, then it is very unlikely that the action which did occur would have occurred. if Alan Billings had shown restraint and not promoted Christianity - the promotion has often been disguised - then he would not now be liable to any criticism. on these grounds.

 

I think that the earlier police visit to my house, in 2015, to deliver the 'Harassment Warning' showed bias of a different kind, what could be called 'class bias.' (I have no ideological or semi-ideological views concerning 'the class system,' even though I have good reason to think that class plays a very significant role in the affairs of the country.)

 

It was middle-class people who complained that I had used the words 'blundering buffoons,' (I point out the factual inaccuracies - and the fatuous mistakes, in my discussion of the episode). These were middle-class people I knew well. They weren't in the least likely to have complained, but complained meekly. And South Yorkshire Police acted on their complaint. If a working class couple from a Council estate had complained about a minor matter - a very minor matter, a matter which it would be ridiculous to describe as important - would South Yorkshire Police have taken decisive action? Surely not.

 

Although for most of my working life I had a middle class job, for most of that time the job was part-time. I call myself working class, with good cause. My mother was a cleaner, my father was a painter and decorator. I grew up in a house without a bathroom or an inside toilet. My first job was as a builder's labourer. My second job was as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital, doing basic work, including work that could be called menial. Then I worked in a four star hotel as a night porter. Since I left the middle class job, I've been done a massive amount of manual work, worked in areas such as woodworking and metalworking, the design and construction work introduced on the Home Page of the site. My time has been spent mainly  with working class people.

 

My page on Capability gives very comprehensive information on this very depressing matter.

 

Dr Billings would like to give the impression - more than that, he's made concerted efforts to give the impression - that he's very receptive to the public of South Yorkshire, and that the panels he has to advise him are also very receptive to the public of South Yorkshire.

 

In fact, the evidence is that opinion which doesn't adhere to his particular view of things has no chance of being considered seriously, or at least has no chance of informing his actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Billings and South Yorkshire Police: 'Treating people fairly' - and other material relevant to my complaints regarding South Yorkshire Police and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

 

From 'Keeping Safe,' 'The Police and Crime Plan for South Yorkshire 2017 - 2021' (Renewed 2019).

Three priorities are identified, given very great prominence in The Plan. One of these priorities is 'Treating People Fairly.'

 

From the Chief Constable's Message in the plan (the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police at the time was Stephen Watson): 'I have an unshakeable intention to ensure that the plan is implemented ... '

 

From the
 
COMMUNITY PROTECTION NOTICE -WRITTEN WARNING


[emphasis as in the document] issued to me on 15 February, 2022. Two members of South Yorkshire Police called at my house to deliver the document:

 

' ... being satisfied that your conduct is having  a detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality and the conduct is unreasonable now issue you with a WRITTEN WARNING.

 

From the section of this 'Written Warning,'  'Details of the conduct:'

'The Police have become aware of you contacting Lu Skerratt-Love via email and hand delivered letters ... When you write these emails and letters it causes great upset to Lu and her colleagues at work.'

 

Below, I provide a copy of the email and the letter sent to Lu Skerratt-Love. The copies will surely remove any doubt that claims made in the Written Warning amount to  gross misrepresentation.

 

In fact, Lu Skerratt-Love has never received a single email from me. The evidence is clear-cut and I provide it. The one email I sent to her, on 8 September 2021, never reached her. It was blocked.

 

On 26 November 2021, I sent a test email to Dr Andy Wier, also employed by the Church Army, to find out if emails from me were still being blocked. They were:

 

 

The 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' is only one of a pattern of deeply disturbing actions on the part of Lu Skerratt-Love and South Yorkshire Police. South Yorkshire Police have acted on her complaints, even though her allegations were false. When the decision was taken to issue me with a 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' then I had already made it clear to South Yorkshire Police that she had never received a single email from me. Two Police Constables were sent to my house to deliver the document. This was wasting police time. By making these continued complaints, Lu Skerrat Love was surely wasting police time.

 

At the time, and during all the time that she has continued to complain about my alleged actions, she was employed by the Church Army. I sent the emails to her Church Army email address for the reason that I couldn't find any other email address.

 

 I was forced to contact the Chair of the Police Commissioner's 'Independent Ethics Panel' by an email to her place of work for the same reason - I could find no other email address. The members of the panel need to make available contact information. They are supposedly responsive to the public, taking account of the views of the public, but the public have no convenient (or possible) way of reaching them.

 

The Church Army has its headquarters in Sheffield. Its primary aim is evangelism. The email I sent to Lu Skerratt-Love, and to just two other members of the Church Army, Tim Ling and Andy Wier, had relevance to their primary aim. I pointed out difficulties, including difficulties to do with allotment law and security, to do with the setting up of a garden church in allotments near my own allotments. Below, a copy of the email sent - but never received by Lu Skerratt-Love - to do with allotment law and security.

 

A concise summary of events and dates

 

8 September, 2021. Email sent to Lu Skerratt-Love pointing out difficulties (mainly security, safety) to do with the proposed garden church at some allotments near to my allotments. Email not received by Lu Skerratt-Love. Tim Ling of the Church Army had decided to block emails from me to Lu Skerratt-Love. By 12 September he had blocked emails from to himself and all members of the Research Unit. Since that time, no members of the Church Army have received emails from me.

 

 'Delivery has failed ... Your message wasn't delivered. Despite repeated attempts to deliver your message, the recipient's email system refused to accept a connection from your email system.'

 

All Lu Skerratt-Love's complaints to South Yorkshire Police about alleged emails from me were made when she must have known that she had never received emails from me, are based upon falsification.

 

8 September, 2021. Letter from me to Lu Skerratt-Love and Tim Ling, quoted in its entirety below. After this one letter, no further letters sent.

 

22 November, 2021. Card received from South Yorkshire Police asking me to contact them. When I contacted them, told that Lu Skerratt-Love had complained about receiving unwanted emails from me. Told to stop this. I pointed out that Lu Skerratt-Love hadn't received any emails from me. They were blocked. Considered making a complaint but decided not to - I didn't want to cause any difficulties for the Police Constable who communicated the information.

 

25 November, 2021. Email sent to Dr Andy Wier ('Research Team Leader' of the Church Army) in connection with his book, 'Creative Tension in Urban Mission: Missional Practice and Theory.' The email I sent never received him - 'Message blocked.'

 

15 February, 1922.  Two police constables called at my house to issue a 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' after yet another complaint from Lu Skerratt-Love, about alleged emails and letters, to other members of the Church Army as well as herself. Again, a complete fabrication.  After the email and letter mentioned above, no further emails and letters have been received by these people. I decided that a complaint to the Professional Standards Department of South Yorkshire Police is fully justifiable. I informed Simon Kirkham and the members of police who visited on 15 February.

 

A copy of the email sent to Lu Skerratt-Love but never received by her.

 

This email is described in the 'Details of the conduct' in the 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' in these terms" 'When you write these emails and letters it causes great upset to Lu and her colleagues at work. This is not fair and certainly not right to do so. It is important that you realise how much you are upsetting / distressing Lu with this conduct. You would not wish for such conduct for your loved ones.' The content of the email I sent will make it clear that the claim in the 'Details of the conduct' amounts to gross misrepresentation.

Dear Lu Skerratt-Love,

'I write in connection with this post on the St Marks Website:

'SHEFFIELD FOREST CHURCH – SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER AT 2.30PM

'After a summer break, we’re back! Join us for Forest Church on the theme of Creation at the Garden Church in Walkley (Walkley Community Garden, Morley Street S6 2PLfor time to be and worship in God’s creation. Bring a drink and a snack for after the service! Our services are intentionally all age and LGBTQ+ affirming, so whatever stage of life or journey you’re on – you’re so very welcome! For more information, you can find us on facebook or email

 
sheffield.forest.church@gmail.com


'I have two allotments on the Morley Street site in Sheffield. I was dismayed to find that the Forest Church is planning to hold this event at Morley Street this Saturday.

The plan is  disastrously misguided, surely. These are some objections:

'The place where it is planned to hold the event is rented land. These are Sheffield Council allotments and as such, are subject to allotment law.  The allotments are rented by Lower Walkley Community Group (LWCG). The group's decision to give permission for the Forest Church to hold the event was very misguided but I have evidence to show that throughout, the use of the land by LWCG has been incompetent.

'[You are] seemingly unaware of the legislation applicable to allotments which is intended to protect the safety of the public and the issue of legal liability. Allotments do have hazards, and in the event of injury to a member of the public attending the event at the 'Forest Garden,' there could easily be severe legal consequences.

'According to information I've received, a fundamental disagreement concerning access to the Community Garden precipitated dissension within the group, leading to members going their separate ways and the neglect of the garden, which lasted for many years until this year, when some work has been done, although hardly any of it to do with the growing of food plants. There was a short period when access to the garden was restricted, by a locked gate, but for most of the time, anyone who wanted to enter the garden was able to.

A very striking , and very off-putting feature of the garden is the very large heap of rubbish, very long as well as high - discarded plastic, rubbish of many, many kinds, with further rubbish in some Council Wheelie bins. If it's assumed that this was all left by fly tippers, it can't be the only explanation. I think these must have been left by the Group itself. [I've since received information from a reliable source, a person who has an allotment near to my own allotments, that the fly-tipping was the action of a member of the Community Garden Group. Amongst the discarded plastic containers are ones which once held organic seaweed fertilizer. 

'I've been informed that youths have sometimes gathered in the LWCG garden and been involved in solvent abuse. I can't verify this but an open garden obviously carries security risks. The  LWCG garden is some distance from the road, down the long and gloomy heavily path by the side of the Walkley Bank Allotment Association hut. The garden itself is shielded from view. It may not be likely that the church members would meet trouble but if they ever did, this isn't the kind of place where it would be easy to get help quickly. I don't think this is being too alarmist. About thirty years ago, there was a murder on an allotment site in the Rivelin Valley. Three youths were sniffing glue in the allotment. Two of them turned on the third and stabbed him with a garden tool. In the time I've had my allotments, there have been some troubling incidents affecting allotment holders, including threatening behaviour directed at them. The Forest Church has ignored the serious problems to do with security.

'A Christian event at an allotment site would set a very troublesome precedent. Allotments are primarily places for growing food but they have other uses. From the introduction to 'Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book:'

 

'In my most optimistic moments, I see every town ringed again with small gardens, nurseries, allotments, greenhouses, orchards, as it was in the past, an assertion of delight and human scale.'

Allotments  should not be places for Christian evangelism or Christian worship. Christians have many other venues available for that. There is no need to use allotments at all. Allotments are not the place for the singing of hymns  for preaching or for public prayer. 

I hope that this conveys some of my reasons for disagreement'. 


Best Wishes,

Paul Hurt.

 

A copy of the letter sent to Lu Skerratt-Love

 

The 'Details of conduct' mentions 'letters.' There was just one letter, and this is it. I delivered it to the Church Army building in Sheffield, one copy for Dr Tim Ling, one copy for Lu Skerratt-Love and one copy for Dr Andy Wier.

 

8 October, 2021

Dear Dr Ling,

There are matters which I need to bring to your attention, and the attention of Lu Skerratt-Love. I can't use the most convenient method, for me, email, since you've blocked my emails. This is simply a short preliminary note. I don't discuss in any detail these matters

Instead of using paper and envelope, buying a stamp and using the post, I've chosen instead to call at the Church Army building and deliver this
note in person and I intend to use this method whenever I can justify a further communication to you or to Lu Skerratt-Love. [I've never made any further communication with Tim Ling, Lu Skerratt-Love or anyone else at Church Army Sheffield. This was the only letter they've received.] I've decided further
to make use of 'open' communication, without enclosure in an envelope. The matters I need to bring to your attention aren't confidential.

Banning, blocking and attempts at blatant censorship should be avoided by people in any organization which values its reputation. Your decision to block emails from me was completely unjustifiable. All I had done was to send emails to a few people and organizations to inform them of my concerns about the proposal to set up a garden church at the Morley Street Allotment site. The reasons I gave and the evidence I gave were to do with matters of allotment law, security and safety. I've documented the issues in detail and published them on my Website. The documentation will be extended to take note of future developments. The people and organizations who received my emails - few in number - could be expected to find the issue of a garden church relevant, for example, St Marks Church.

 

Lu Skerratt-Love had publicized the issue on the St Marks Church Website.The tone of my emails was courteous. I used Lu Skerratt-Love's Church army email address because I had no alternative. This was the only email address I could find.I felt at the time that it was unwise of her not to make available an alternative email address.

Lu Skerratt-Love's decision to complain to the police, her attempt to have me remove material from my own Website, was disastrously misguided, like your decision to block my emails. Lu Skerratt-Love's twitter page is full of complaints against the police but she chose to turn to the police (as an alternative to prayer, perhaps, or to supplement prayer). This, to me, was wasting police time. I don't claim that it
was wasting police time in the strict legal sense but if people demand action from the police for the flimsiest of reasons, or no good reason at all, or for thoroughly bad reasons, then the police have less time available for all the other issues, far more important issues, which they have to deal with, such as doing something to curb the excesses of Extinction Rebellion, rape, violent crime, and many more. [I don't equate the excesses of Extinction Rebellion with rape or violent crime, of course. This is a short list with examples which are very different in their degree of seriousness.]

I don't make demands myself, although I think that an apology is due from Lu Skerratt-Love and yourself. If you find the arguments and evidence I've put forward on my Website unpersuasive, then by all means let me have - better still, publicize - your counter arguments and evidence.

As I say, this is only a preliminary stage. I've already spent a great deal of time and effort on these matters and I'm willing to do far more. Any necessary communication with you or Lu Skerratt-Love will be by personal delivery of a note. [I didn't deliver any more notes/letters.]

I hope you will be able to bring this note to the attention of Lu Skerratt-Love. [In the event, I provided a copy for Lu Skerratt-Love.] Obviously, you're free to bring it to the attention of other people as well.

Best Wishes,

Paul Hurt

 

The 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' includes in its disturbing content this disturbing claim: 'In some of these correspondences you make mention of her personal faith.' [Bold print supplied by me.] Is Sergeant Kirkham really suggesting that mentioning Christian faith is forbidden, banned, subject to police sanctions? Public mention of Christian faith is freely allowed also, he may be surprised to learn - and not just mention of Christian faith but criticism of Christian faith. This is a subject I do know something about, as he'll learn if he looks at a page of this Website www.linkagenet.com/themes/christian-religion.htm  As my page on translation and translation studies make clear, I've an interest in languages. The page on translation includes my translations from Classical Greek and Modern Greek but I also read New Testament Greek. In fact, I've read the whole of Mark's Gospel in the original Greek.

 

As further evidence of my knowledge, I even have a book on my bookshelves written by Alan Billings, his book 'God and Community Cohesion.' I intend to add a section to my page on Ireland, Scotland and nationalism.( I was in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.) I consider his writing on the subject (on Page 14 of the book) superficial, misleading - completely inadequate.

 

Some varied matters
 
all relevant to this multi-faceted case. I include material which gives more detail about matters discussed in concise form above.

 

Yorkshire people are often supposed to be blunt, plain-speaking folk, but South Yorkshire Police seem to have a very different view - of South Yorkshire people as fragile, timid people with no capacity for common sense or good sense, incapable of standing up for themselves. If this view prevails, South Yorkshire Police may find it much more difficult to find suitable recruits in sufficient numbers. Serving police officers have a career which is interesting, obviously of immense value to society, but one which potentially makes great demands - sensitivity, compassion, firmness, the willingness to use reasonable force when needed, determination, physical and sometimes moral courage, flexibility, versatility, and other qualities. Sometimes, though, policing can be a very easy job. I'd say that the job allocated to the policewoman who delivered the Harassment Warning to me wasn't too demanding.

 

Police and Crime Commissioners have very great powers, including the power to remove a Chief Constable.

 

Extract from an article published in 'The Guardian,'

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jun/09/former-chief-constable-wins-legal-challenge-hillsborough-resignation-south-yorkshire-police-david-crompton

The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC), Alan Billings, acted unlawfully and irrationally when he sacked the force’s chief constable, David Crompton, a day after last year’s verdicts in the Hillsborough inquests, the high court has ruled.

Lawyers for Crompton claimed there was no fair or reasonable basis for forcing him out of office. Crompton attacked the decision taken by Billings following the inquest findings into the deaths at the Hillsborough stadium disaster 27 years before.

Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham, sitting in London, ruled in Crompton’s favour on Friday.

 

Billings’s decision to sack Crompton was not based on the case South Yorkshire police presented at the inquests, but on a press statement issued the following day, 27 April 2016.

Garnham said the decision was irrational and “wholly disproportionate”.

 

In the judgment, Billings’s conduct at the time – refusing to consider and advise on the press statement when Crompton consulted him about it following criticism of the police’s case by bereaved families and politicians – was described as “surprising in the extreme”, “a serious error” and “wholly unreasonable”.

 

Billings was also found to have acted irrationally and unreasonably in failing to take account of an opinion last June from the HM chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor, who said the sacking of Crompton was “conspicuously unfair, disproportionate and so unreasonable that I cannot understand how the PCC has reached this view”.

...

The inquests coroner, Sir John Goldring, in October 2014 rejected an application by the families for the force’s admissions and apologies to be put before the jury. At the conclusion of the inquests, the jury determined that the 96 people were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence manslaughter by the police officer in command at the match, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, and that no behaviour of football supporters contributed to the disaster.

After the verdicts, Crompton issued a statement in which he fully accepted the findings of the jury and apologised for the police failures. In response to the criticism which followed the verdicts, he issued a second statement on 27 April, which explained that while South Yorkshire police accepted their culpability for the disaster, their failures had to be put in the context of “other contributory factors”.

Although in media interviews Billings had suggested he sacked Crompton for the conduct of the inquests, in fact it was for the press statement, arguing it implied the force was still failing to take responsibility.

The legal process since has revealed that Crompton consulted Billings about the statement before he issued it, but Billings refused to look at it, saying he did not want any statement to be made at all.

Garnham described that approach as “surprising in the extreme” and “a serious error”, saying Billings should have worked collaboratively with Crompton on the response.

Crompton, who argued he conducted the police case at the inquests responsibly and responded to the verdicts reasonably, strongly criticised Billings after winning the judicial review.

Dr Billings has spent a huge amount of public money trying to defend actions which he was advised in the strongest terms not to pursue by Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary,” Crompton said. “This money would have been better spent on operational policing … The judgment, which is damning, speaks for itself.”

 

The relationship between Alan Billings and another Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Stephen Watson, seemed very different, very amicable. The 'Chief Constable's Message,' part of the document 'Keeping Safe,' goes much too far in promoting Dr Billing's Plan, which isn't in the least free from faults. The relationship between Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner shouldn't be a symbiotic relationship in the least. The two have very different roles. in a system of checks and balances, responsibilities for oversight and operational decisions and so much else. As it is, the Chief Constable has gone in for a form of grovelling - or, rather, has made not nearly enough effort to preserve a healthy distance. He writes,

 

''The Police and Crime Plan sets out clear priorities for the force and I have an unshakeable intention to ensure that the plan is implemented and we achieve our objectives of keeping South Yorkshire a safe place to live, learn and work.'

 

The Plan sets out the views of one particular Church of England Priest. The Chief Constable has, or should have, a far greater knowledge of operational police matters than Dr Billings. His 'unshakeable intention to ensure that the plan is implemented' isn't desirable in the least. As for the objective of keeping South Yorkshire a safe place to live, learn and work, can this be achieved, as he claims. South Yorkshire can never become a completely safe place, unless the Chief Constable believes that he can completely end gun crime, knife crime and the other crimes that endanger the community. He's surely more realistic, less utopian, in his expectations? Police activity to make South Yorkshire safer surely won't be helped in the least by devoting time, money and other resources to problems such as the ones experienced by Andrew Conheeney, the 'Blundering Buffoons Problem.' Faced by harsh realities, the Chief Constable and Alan Billings refuse to admit that harsh realities demand that the police can't possibly meet all the demands placed on them. If someone calls someone else a 'blundering moron' on a couple of occasions then the police would be wasting police resources by pursuing the matter.

 

In his Plan, Dr Billings does write, 'The public need to understand ... how they can become resilient.' He ought to have qualified this statement, making a distinction between very serious setbacks and very minor setbacks. An example of a very serious one, being shot in the head but surviving the injury, being beaten up - nobody can expect the victim to recover recover quickly, to be 'resilient.' An example of a very minor setback - to give the example yet again, being called a 'blundering buffoon.'

 

From a publication of the Christian Police Association, issue 1087 January 2022. The material given in image form appears monthly in the publication.

https://www.cpauk.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/CPA-On-Off-Duty-1087-Jan-2022.pdf

It seems clear that the Christian Police Association has evangelistic aims. There is not only a 'Vision Statement' which mentions  colleagues and, implicitly, the  public of South Yorkshire, but a 'Mission Statement,' using 'Mission' not in a general sense but a specific sense. The Christian Police Association may hope that 'action' may communicate the truth, message and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ to colleagues and the community ...' (Sergeant Kirkham's action in my case, flagrantly breaching elementary notions of fairness - I provide the evidence below). However, the section 'Our Mission' also mentions words which supposedly communicate 'the truth, message and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ' not only to police colleagues but to members of the general public. This notion is cause for deep concern.

From the online journal of the Christian Police Association, in a prominent position at the top of the page, a quotation from the New Testament, Paul's letter to the Romans

 

https://christianpolice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/CPA-OOD-Oct-2022.pdf

 

'Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. Romans 13:1 [NLT]'

 

This pronouncement in the supposedly infallible text the Bible causes difficulty. Presumably, if everyone in positions of authority has been placed there by God, Alan Billings was placed in his position of authority by God, David Crompton, the former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire was placed in his position of authority by God but lost his position of authority when Alan Billings had him dismissed, Hitler was placed in his position of authority - total authority, terrifying authority - by God and Stalin was placed in his position of authority by God. The Pope, a heretic according to many Protestants, was placed in his position of authority by God and leaders of evangelical churches, heretics according to orthodox Roman Catholic belief, have been placed there by God.

 

I decided to make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct instead. I have extensive material on a previous visit from South Yorkshire Police, when I was issued with a 'Police Information Notice,' a euphemistic title, surely. The commonly used name for this document is 'Harassment Warning' and is far more informative. I give very detailed information about the 'Harassment Warning' and the background - all important but not available to the police at the time their 'Police Information Notice' was issued and brought to me. If they had taken the trouble to contact me I could easily have informed them about the background and spared them all the problems which have followed.

 

www.linkagenet.com/education/capability.htm

 

The page includes a full copy of a Certificate presented to me and kept by me. If I were to be asked for a Character Reference, this is one of the documents I could include - but I value it so much for other reasons. I include a copy of the Certificate here:

 

 

Throughout the years when I was a teacher, mainly as a member of Biology departments but for over four years in a Physics department and often teaching Chemistry. I also assisted in guiding candidates for Oxford and Cambridge entrance and taught General Studies, as I have a wide range of interests.  I can't recall a single instance of poor examination results for any of the classes I taught.  My examination results were not just very good but often outstanding.

 

The Head of the school where I taught before I left teaching began capability proceedings against me and the proceedings went on for a long time. They were concluded only a short time before the Certificate was given to me. The Head made it clear that my examination results were not an issue. There was no question of poor examination results leading to the capability proceedings or being part of the capability proceedings.

 

In fact, the capability proceedings were not just grotesquely unfair but conducted in such a careless way that they raise very disturbing questions - allegations with absolutely no attempt to provide the least evidence for an allegation, an allegation attributed to one supposed critic of mine, identified, like the other critics, by initials only - in this case 'PH.' But my initials are 'PH.' There were no other members of staff at the school with the same initials. The claim, then, was that Paul Hurt was finding fault with Paul Hurt.

 

The Head who instigated these farcical proceedings and kep the proceedings going for so long, long after it should have been obvious that they should never have been begun at all, was a Christian. I have heard him offer a prayer to Jesus Christ at a staff meeting. This wasn't a Church school. As a matter of fact, before taking up my post at the school, I taught for a short time in a Roman Catholic school. The experience contributed to my eventual views on Church schools, a critical view.

 

I taught in a laboratory with a photograph of the Pope in office at the time and a sign reading, 'God cares. Do you?' At assembly, I witnessed words which surely amount to hypocrisy. A teacher was giving an address concerned with patience. He offered a prayer not to God (the Roman Catholic God, who is not to be equated with the God of Evangelical Christians such as the folk at the Christian Police Association) but to 'St Joseph.' Evangelical Christians reject prayers offered to the Saints, or to Mary. He heard some talking from a pupil, quiet talking - I never heard what was said. The teacher's response was immediate: 'Shut your mouth or I'll slap your face!'

 

The Head of the school who began Capability Proceedings against me seemed to have a fondness for them. For some years, he began Capability Proceedings against a member of staff, support staff included,  not always a teacher. I knew the staff members given the 'capability treatment' before and after me. Although I'd left by then, I knew these people well. I'm sure that in their cases as well as in my own, the treatment was very unfair. After I left the school, I'm informed that the Head took action against the Head of Department and that the Head of Department left the school soon after.  I don't have the information that this action on the part of the Head  amounted to the full 'capability treatment.' This Head of Department was someone I respected very much, a hard working and efficient Head of Department.

 

Perhaps the Head of School felt that by subjecting staff to this treatment he was keeping the staff on their toes - 'pour encourager les autres.' It may even be possible that he wanted to get rid of people who had been at the school for a long time - i was one - because long-serving members of staff were more expensive and he could save money by appointing to vacant roles younger, cheaper people.

 

To return to the matter of the 'Harassment Warning, this previous visit to present the 'Police Information Notice' took place in 2015. The Professional Standards Department has a time limit of one year. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has no time limit, provided the person can provide reasons why the complaint wasn't submitted earlier. I have very good reasons, not provided here.

 

 

 

The 'Details of conduct' mentions 'letters.' There was just one letter, and this is it. I delivered it to the Church Army building in Sheffield, one copy for Dr Tim Ling, one copy for Lu Skerratt-Love and one copy for Dr Andy Wier.

 

8 October, 2021

Dear Dr Ling,

There are matters which I need to bring to your attention, and the attention of Lu Skerratt-Love. I can't use the most convenient method, for me, email, since you've blocked my emails. This is simply a short preliminary note. I don't discuss in any detail these matters

Instead of using paper and envelope, buying a stamp and using the post, I've chosen instead to call at the Church Army building and deliver this
note in person and I intend to use this method whenever I can justify a further communication to you or to Lu Skerratt-Love. [I've never made any further communication with Tim Ling, Lu Skerratt-Love or anyone else at Church Army Sheffield. This was the only letter they've received.] I've decided further
to make use of 'open' communication, without enclosure in an envelope. The matters I need to bring to your attention aren't confidential.

Banning, blocking and attempts at blatant censorship should be avoided by people in any organization which values its reputation. Your decision to block emails from me was completely unjustifiable. All I had done was to send emails to a few people and organizations to inform them of my concerns about the proposal to set up a garden church at the Morley Street Allotment site. The reasons I gave and the evidence I gave were to do with matters of allotment law, security and safety. I've documented the issues in detail and published them on my Website. The documentation will be extended to take note of future developments. The people and organizations who received my emails - few in number - could be expected to find the issue of a garden church relevant, for example, St Marks Church.

 

Lu Skerratt-Love had publicized the issue on the St Marks Church Website.The tone of my emails was courteous. I used Lu Skerratt-Love's Church army email address because I had no alternative. This was the only email address I could find.I felt at the time that it was unwise of her not to make available an alternative email address.

Lu Skerratt-Love's decision to complain to the police, her attempt to have me remove material from my own Website, was disastrously misguided, like your decision to block my emails. Lu Skerratt-Love's twitter page is full of complaints against the police but she chose to turn to the police (as an alternative to prayer, perhaps, or to supplement prayer). This, to me, was wasting police time. I don't claim that it
was wasting police time in the strict legal sense but if people demand action from the police for the flimsiest of reasons, or no good reason at all, or for thoroughly bad reasons, then the police have less time available for all the other issues, far more important issues, which they have to deal with, such as doing something to curb the excesses of Extinction Rebellion, rape, violent crime, and many more. [I don't equate the excesses of Extinction Rebellion with rape or violent crime, of course. This is a short list with examples which are very different in their degree of seriousness.]

I don't make demands myself, although I think that an apology is due from Lu Skerratt-Love and yourself. If you find the arguments and evidence I've put forward on my Website unpersuasive, then by all means let me have - better still, publicize - your counter arguments and evidence.

As I say, this is only a preliminary stage. I've already spent a great deal of time and effort on these matters and I'm willing to do far more. Any necessary communication with you or Lu Skerratt-Love will be by personal delivery of a note. [I didn't deliver any more notes/letters.]

I hope you will be able to bring this note to the attention of Lu Skerratt-Love. [In the event, I provided a copy for Lu Skerratt-Love.] Obviously, you're free to bring it to the attention of other people as well.

Best Wishes,

Paul Hurt

  

 

The 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning'  seems to have been issued by Sergeant Simon Kirkham. I presume that it was Sergeant Kirkham who sent the two members of South Yorkshire Police on their errand. I've made requests to confirm his role in all this, but he's disregarded the requests.

 

If this, in the document, was written by him or approved by him before the document was brought to me by the two PC's   'You would not wish for such conduct for your loved ones' what comment does he have to make on this? If he's still a member of the Christian Police Association and believes in the views outlined in the column to the right  - it gives extracts from the Website of the Association - then he believes that the people, the numberless people who have lost loved ones - devoted mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, heroes and heroines, and all the others - have, according to the hateful,  doctrines believed in by the Christian Police Association, lost loved ones who are in hell for eternity - except for the tiny minority of loved ones who accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

 

 

 Some background information and context concerning two previous approaches by South Yorkshire Police.

 

In early October, a police officer from South Yorkshire Police phoned me to inform me that Lu Skerratt-Love had complained about some material on my Website. The officer asked me to remove it. I refused. South Yorkshire Police has absolutely no right to censor Websites in this way.

 

On 22 November, 2022 I found a card from PC - - of South Yorkshire police (I don't provide the name of the member of South Yorkshire Police here.) I contacted this member and was informed that Lu Skerratt-Love had contacted South Yorkshire Police to complain about me. She had alleged that my emails to her were unwanted and must stop.

 

I sent an email to  PC - - the member of South Yorkshire Police who had left the card. This is a copy. It includes the content of the email I sent to Lu Skerratt-Love but not received by her - matters to do with such matters as security and safety.

 

Despite the length of this email, this is simply an outline of my concerns. This is an issue which I've already documented in detail and which will now require further documentation. You write, 'Lucy has contacted us to ask you to stop contacting her as the contact is unwanted, therefore please can I ask that you send no further emails.'

This supposedly simple request has alarming implications for freedom of expression, but not only for freedom of expression.  You may or may not be aware that I received a phone call from South Yorkshire Police in October giving me information about her approach to the police. She had received only ONE email from me, quoted below.  I sent the email to Lu Skerratt-Love because she has an association with the 'Forest Church Movement' in Sheffield and a Forest Church meeting was planned for an allotment site near to my allotments. I took the view that certain difficulties had been overlooked in this plan, including difficulties to do with security and safety.

In fact, the meeting of the Forest (or Garden) Church planned for September never took place. The Facebook page of the Garden Church has given the information that the launch has been delayed owing to concerns to do with safety. It can only have been my emails which alerted the garden church to issues to do with safety, issues which have still not been resolved, it seems - no date has been announced for the inaugural meeting of the garden church. I take the view that my email has served a good purpose. In a world where abusive, threatening communications are commonplace, this email is in a different category completely. It simply  provide arguments and relevant evidence.

I
felt at the time that Lu Skerratt-Love made her original approach to South Yorkshire Police that this was not a matter which should take up the time of the police. South Yorkshire Police, like other police forces, faces so many pressures, so many demands for action, including, obviously, ones to do with terrorist action and other gross assaults on our democratic way of life - and, also demands for action which are completely unreasonable, which overlook the demands on police time.  Lu Skerratt-Love received ONE  email from me and has received NO  further emails from me. The fact that now she makes a second demand for action on your part seems to me completely unreasonable.

Why this issue should be raised again is beyond my comprehension.  All the more so, as Lu Skerratt-Love has travelled to London to take part in Extinction Rebellion protests - protests which again take up a disproportionate amount of police time. When the police are attending to Extinction Rebellion protests then they can't be attending to other issues, including emergencies. I've retained a copy of a tweet of Lu Skerratt-Love which quotes a vitriolic, foul-mouthed attack on the police.  I won't give it here, but to me, it amounts to a complete misrepresentation and distortion of the state of the police force in this country and which completely ignores the massive contribution it makes.

My view is that reasonable, evidence-based action to address the issue of climate change can't possibly take place if society descends into chaos, and the police force (and the armed forces of the country) are the most important of all defences against the state of civil disorder and the breakdown of society which Extinction Rebellion seems to accept all too readily but people with a regard for democratic values can't possibly accept. But I urge you to consider also the vital importance of freedom of expression in maintaining our democratic values.

'You would not wish for such conduct for your loved ones.'

This statement appears in the section 'Details of the Conduct' in the 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' issued to me.

The 'conduct' mentioned is, as I've made clear, a grotesque allegation based upon falsification. It happens that the 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' (CPN) issued to me came at a time when two of my loved ones were a major factor in my life. Here, I only mention - briefly - one of the two, my mother.

The two Police Constables who came to my door to deliver the CPN came on the day after my mother - and the mother of my sister and one surviving brother - had been admitted to the frailty ward of a hospital. She was 96 years old and for a long time, her health had been worsening.

I made efforts to contest the issuing of the CPN against a background of acute family concerns, then. Later, our mother was admitted to a different ward. On a Friday, we were informed that our mother could not possibly survive longer than a few days. By Monday at the latest, she would have died.

i decided to call at Snig Hill Police Station in Sheffield, a main station, to ask if I could speak to a senior police officer, available,  according to the Website. I'd had enough of email communications. i thought it important to discuss these actions of South Yorkshire Police in person. I was told that there was no senior police officer available at the time.

At all other times, I and my brother and sister have had a realistic as well as emotional attitude. We have fully recognized the inevitability of these events. We knew that our mother could never be expected to live for much longer. Even so, the conjunction of the police action against me and this family matter had an effect on me. At the police station, I quickly became distraught. The woman at the enquiry desk was very impressive and handled the matter very well. After leaving the police station, I went to the hospital and found that mother had died a short time before. My brother and sister joined me there. I consider that the statement 'You would not wish for such conduct for your loved ones' should never have been included - but none of the 'Details of the conduct' should have been included. The CPN should never have been sent. It was sent without any attempt whatsoever to elicit my testimony. It was sent when I had already made it completely clear that the complainant had already made complaints on the same matter which were based on false allegations.

 


Material which belongs to the comment in the first column of this page
,

dealing with the Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel. The material is given here for the reason that some of the material, screenshots which provide evidence of emails not received, is too wide to be included in the first column.

Alan Billings holds South Yorkshire Police to account and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel to account - that's the theory. Has he been successful in ensuring that the public can comment on the work of the Commissioner? His department doesn't seem to be a model of efficiency. In fact, the initial impression would be unfavourable, if one of the criteria is this very reasonable one: ensuring that the public can contact members of the Police and Crime Panel and members of the Independent Ethics Panel easily, without the need to devote time and effort to internet searches and sending emails to find out how emails can be sent to these people.

 

He claimed, when he was appointed,

 

I will be a voice for all people in South Yorkshire. I will be the people’s commissioner.'

 

I've many criticisms to make about the Police and Crime Commissioner. I tried to contact the Crime and Police Panel to bring them to their attention and found myself facing an obstacle course.

 

If someone wants to complain about South Yorkshire Police, then it's very simple - a well-designed and efficient system is in place. It isn't only complaints and criticisms to the Police and Crime Panel which meet with difficulties. Attempts to find out information too.


https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/news/alan-billings-takes-office-as-police-and-crime-
commissioner-for-south-yorkshire/

For further details about the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel please visit: www.southyorks.gov.uk

 

Clicking on this link will get you nowhere. You'll simply receive an error message:

 

 

If you use information supplied on the page

 

https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/contact/complaints/information-on-how-to-make-a-complaint

 

COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER

The appropriate authority for complaints made against the Police and Crime Commissioner is the Police and Crime Panel. The Panel has delegated authority for the initial receipt of complaints to the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Complaints received which are about the conduct of the Commissioner will be referred to the Police and Crime Panel.

Complaints should be sent to:

PCP Legal Adviser
Barnsley MBC
Town Hall
Church Street
Barnsley S70 2TA
Email: PCP@syjs.gov.uk 

 

then clicking on the email link will get you nowhere. You'll simply receive an error message:

 

 

 

After an internet search, I found a promising phone number and the promise was fulfilled. I was able to send the document I'd written giving critical comments about the Police and Crime Commissioner. I asked that the document should reach members of the Panel.

 

I brought the missing links to the attention of an official. Now, I am assured, the email address PCP@syjs has been fixed. However, the link to  www.southyorks.gov.uk has still not been fixed. I see it as necessary to bring the document to the attention of Alan Billings, to members of the Police and Crime Panel and to members of the Independent Ethics Panel. If the link had not been broken, I could have submitted the document to members of the Police and Crime Panel. I was able to send the document, but not directly to members of the Panel. I had reasons for thinking that they may well not have received the document. I took the step of sending the document individually to the members at email addresses which I know will work. I wasn't able to send the document to  members of the Independent Ethics Panel myself. No email addresses are provided on the main Website page giving information about the members and their work. I see this as a significant omission, one which should be corrected. I sent the document to the Chair of the Independent Ethics Panel with a request that the document should be sent to panel members. The document was only a preliminary document. The material here is much fuller, much more detailed. Even so, I haven't realistically been able to include all or even most of the material available to me.

 

To have failed in some ways - or just one way - is not to have failed in most ways, or all ways. It is impossible for small, large and in particular very large organizations to avoid failure to some extent or to a significant extent. A person's life is wide-ranging and often complex and it's impossible for an individual never to fail. This puts the failures of South Yorkshire Police in context.

 

When the police are dealing with violent crime or disorder on a very large scale, or when they are dealing with much less demanding tasks after being exposed to far greater levels of stress, then the public surely should show understanding of their difficulties and not make unnecessary complaints.

 

However, in this case, Sergeant Kirkham did not have to issue the Community Protection Notice - Written Warning in conditions of acute danger or very great stress. He didn't have to issue it at all. This wasn't something that was a reaction to an emergency. He must have had ample time to consider the matter. I think that extenuating circumstances for him are non-existent in this case.

 

The mistakes of Dr Billings, as I see them, were not made in the heat of the moment, in conditions of acute danger. The post he occupies may be stressful in part but he's well paid and he does not have to remain in the post. His situation is a very different one from the situation faced day by day by most members of police forces.

 

I respect and admire South Yorkshire Police. This is an extract from an article which gives information about some of the difficulties and dangers faced by members of police forces. I would point out one detail, significant, but only in the context of 'the case.' From the article below,

'He reacted angrily when PC Clarke activated his body worn video camera, grabbing and punching the officer.'

 

After the knock at the door, I admitted the two PC's
who, I found, had come to deliver the 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning.' I was told by one of them that he had body worn video camera. I'm in the older age group, they were entering a book-lined room with string instruments. I don't make too much of this incident, in fact I make next to nothing of it - but it did occur to me that this was incongruous and ridiculous. Mention of body worn video camera footage was in accordance with the purpose of their visit, delivery of the document. I don't blame the PC in the least for mentioning the video camera. It was at the beginning of the visit and the PC would have been led to expect someone who was having a harmful effect on the neighbourhood. 

The article mentioned:

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/i-challenge-anyone-to-walk-in-our-shoes-officers-suffer-horrific-mental-scars-fr/

21 October 2022  Updated: 25 October 2022, 1

 

Police officers are suffering 'horrific mental scars' after being assaulted on duty, with thousands forced to take time off due to the stress of the job.

 

Police Federation chairman Steve Hartshorn told LBC that 37,000 physical assaults on police officers had taken place across England and Wales in the year ending March 2021, with figures expected to increase even further for the next year.

 

The onslaught of abuse has left many questioning why they stay in the force, he said.

"It’s horrific. It leaves a mental scar because you have a physical injury but you also have the mental impact which people don’t see," Mr Hartshorn said.

 

"Being hit, kicked, potentially shot at, spat at, coughed in your face when someone tells you they’ve got a really incredibly horrible disease…that makes you wonder.

 

Mr Hartshorn explained that dwindling force numbers meant people almost felt free to do what they want and the only way they know to deal with the threat of being arrested is to use physical force and assault colleagues.

 

More officers are also leaving police forces as attacks became more frequent and insufferable.

"You reach a point where you’ve been assaulted so many times - and police officers have it far too regularly during their job – it must factor into the decision," the chairman explained.

 

"If you can get a job that pays as much with less risk and harm they’re going to go.

 

"There’s only so much you can take…it’s not just being a physical victim, it’s also witnessing your colleagues being assaulted and put in situations where they try to do their best for people."

 

One example is PC Leo Clarke, 25, who works as part of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

He was left with a bleed on the brain after being attacked on duty and needed surgery as part of his recovery.

 

He was punched in the head last February – only returning to work on restricted duties 10 months later in December.

 

The attack unfolded after PC Clarke was called out to a house in Peterborough after a man became violent towards members of his own family.

 

The man, in his 20s, had missed a psychiatric appointment at Peterborough City Hospital that morning and walked to the address prior to speaking with a doctor.

 

He reacted angrily when PC Clarke activated his body worn video camera, grabbing and punching the officer.

 

He was arrested and later handed one year and eight months in jail in April last year after admitting causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) without intent.

 

PC Clarke told his force's podcast: "The doctors told me it was a bleed on the brain and left unchecked, it could cause a lot of damage.

"Luckily my skipper and colleagues saw something was wrong and got me to hospital early, that has helped me get back to how I am now."

 

He went on to say: "As the police we do a lot of jobs now, including mental health related ones.

"We’ve had to adapt as every service is stretched; for us it’s not just locking up bad guys anymore.

"One of the main things for police is life and limb – making sure everyone is OK.

 

"If we turn up, it doesn’t always mean you’re in trouble so don’t instantly worry and don’t take your anger out on us.

 

"We’ve got families as well we want to go home to, so it’s not fair.

 

"It might not be an ambulance turning up like you want, but we will get to where you need to and do our best to help you."

 

As the number of physical assaults continues to increase year-on-year, Police Federation chairman Steve Hartshorn believes the increased maximum sentence is still not enough to stop attacks taking place.

 

"If you look at the maximum sentence being doubled to two years it’s not having an impact because the figures clearly show you’ve got officers being assaulted," he said.

 

"37,000 fiscal assaults. It’s not having the impact we need so we need to look more at what the courts are doing and make sure they’re sentencing properly."

 

However, the short sentence is merely a "occupational hazard" for most criminals, Mr Hartshorn went on to say.

 

"If you’re dealing with people with criminal minds it’s almost like an occupational hazard.

 

"It’s part of the wider criminal justice process that we need more investment in."

 


 

 


 

 

    A complaint against Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner