Diocese of East Anglia volunteers for police screening

 The diocese of East Anglia has arranged for all their clergy and volunteers to undergo police security checks. A spokesman confirmed that the diocese paid to have 85 clergy and 275 choir leaders, Sunday school teachers, altar servers, organists and youth leaders screened. He said two volunteers were removed from their positions after the screening revealed criminal records involving violence or sexual offences. Two others have been asked to leave after refusing to take part in the screening process, carried out by Norfolk police. The spokesman added: "This is something that has been looked at by several dioceses for several years. Other attempts in other areas have failed because the police would not carry out the checks because they say the Church did not have the right to the information. "In East Anglia the diocese managed to come to an agreement with the police so the checks could be conducted. This was done entirely as a precaution so that we know that the people we have working for us are safe. The Bishop of East Anglia, Peter Smith, was fully behind the idea and was checked himself." He said he thought other dioceses would be unlikely to follow East Anglia's lead because of government plans to reorganise the way in which information about offenders is collated.

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