York & North Yorkshire

York Minster police given back power of arrest

York Minster Police and the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, Dean of York Image copyright York/MinsterAnthony Chappel-Ross
Image caption A ceremony was held at York Minster to offcially confer power back to the force

A cathedral police force has been given back the power of arrest for the first time in nearly 80 years.

York Minster Police has been given the same powers as regular police officers within the minster's precinct.

Eight constables and the cathedral's head of security were sworn in at a special ceremony on Tuesday.

The force, established in the 13th Century, lost its powers in the 1930s when officers ceased to be attested.

York Minster is one of only a handful of cathedrals to maintain its own police force. Those that do have a police force include Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, St Peter's Basilica in Rome, and Washington's National Cathedral in Washington DC.

Mark Sutcliffe, Inspector of Cathedral Police at York Minster, said: "I feel very proud of the whole team for attaining their attestation.

"It has been an important day for everyone involved but also a significant milestone in the history of the force, which has played an important role in life at the cathedral for hundreds of years.

"The attestation and training the officers have completed ensures our cathedral constables have the professional skills and powers necessary to execute their duties."

Image copyright York Minster
Image caption York Minster Police constabulary is thought to be the oldest continuing police service in the country

Powers were returned to the force following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Chapter of York and the chief constable of North Yorkshire.

The memorandum recognises that although security provision inside the minster and its precinct remain the responsibility of cathedral constables, North Yorkshire Police will be responsible for investigating all crime.

Any arrested people will be handed over to North Yorkshire Police for transport and processing and the force will be responsible for the submission of prosecution files.

The Minster Police constabulary is thought to be the oldest continuing police service in the country.

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