Two Metropolitan Police officers described as “absolutely disgraceful” were seen on public networks on Friday, April 2, disrupting a pre-Easter ceremony at Christ the King Polish RC Church in Balham, London—because it violated CCP Virus (COVID-19) pandemic rules.
Although parts of the United States are now open, particularly on religious holidays like Good Friday, millions of British citizens are still subject to mandated lockdowns.
One of the police officers informed the churchgoers that if they did not leave and go back home, they would be fined £200 (U.S. $277) or jailed if they did not provide their details.
The parish, which is part of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales, told the Catholic News Agency that on Good Friday, April 2, during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, at the moment of the Adoration of the Cross, at about 6 p.m., the police had come to the door of their church and interrupted their service.
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that officers were alerted to a warning of numbers of people standing in line outside a church in Balham High Road at about 5.00 p.m. on Friday, April 2.
Police arrived and discovered a significant number of people inside the building. Some were not wearing a face mask, and the group didn’t appear to be practicing social distancing.
Officers met with the priest outside the church before being invited inside to speak to the religious group.
According to a statement published on the Church’s website on Saturday, municipal law enforcement officials were misguided about the current place of religion rules, and the basis for their involvement was the continuing ban on social service in religious buildings in London related to the lockdown on January 4, 2021.
The parish accused police of interfering with their rights to worship during the Holy Week.
“We believe, however, that the police grossly exceeded their powers by issuing their order without adequate reason, as all government requirements were met,” the parish said, reports Western Journal.
“Officers attended and found a large number of people inside the church. Some people were not wearing masks and those present were clearly not socially distanced,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“We are particularly concerned about the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus as a result of large indoor gatherings at which people are not socially distanced and some are not wearing masks. As such, officers made the decision that it was not safe for that particular service to continue,” police added.
The parish noted that all “scheduled services for the blessing of Easter food, the Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday will take place as indicated.”
They urged everybody to follow current hygienic standards in the church and public spaces and hope that such incidents would not happen again.