Revealed: Why police are called to church

Stock picture of a police officer on the beat to go with story about levels of fitness among Lancashire police officers
Stock picture of a police officer on the beat to go with story about levels of fitness among Lancashire police officers

For most people, weddings and funeral are highly emotional events which bring together families for a boozy get-together.

But it’s the potentially explosive cocktail of alcohol, tears and infighting that have been blamed for a spate of weddings and funerals ruined - by the police turning up.

A North Yorkshire Police investigation has revealed wedding guests and mourners have been left black and blue after fights broke out.

The big days of seven couples have been ruined this year after police turned up to investigate a crime, while mourners were left in a state of shock after officers arrived at a wake.

Celebrity author GP Taylor was a vicar in Whitby and Scarborough before leaving the church a decade ago.

In his 13 years as a man of the cloth he said he witnessed some incredible sites - and claimed alcohol was usually at the root of them..

“There was one incident in Whitby when the service went well but once this family all left the church and moved outside, they all just started fighting,” said Mr Taylor, author of the bestselling Shadowmancer books.

“It got so out of control they brought a dog handler in - it was absolute carnage.

“There were people running around with blood on their shirts, which had been ripped in the scuffle while people were screaming and crying.”

“I said to them ‘This is a house of God and a place of peace!’ But it didn’t stop them, and it just kicked off.”

But it isn’t just days of celebration in which tempers flared.

“There was a funeral at a Whitby church at which the police had to remove a mourner as she was paralytic drunk,” added Mr Taylor.

“She was screaming shouting, falling over people and falling over the coffin.

“It was hysterically funny but it is a time of great sadness so you have to be sensitive.”

He also recalls another incident where police were called to collect a vicar from a hedge after he drunkenly fell into it prior to a christening.

“Another vicar was called to do the service while he sobered up in the back of the police van,” added the author.

However, figures obtained by The Scarborough News through the Freedom of Information act revealed the main reason police were called to services was because of violence.

Assaults were behind the majority of the nine 999 calls in the region this year.

Three men were attacked while two women were also assaulted. Police were also called to investigate thefts and anti-social behaviour.

Charges were only brought in two cases, although cautions and penalty notices were issues by police in some cases.

However the offences in North Yorkshire are relatively tame compared to some of the crimes which marred some services.

In South Wales, someone working at a wedding reception exposed themselves to a guest, while in East Yorkshire a bride’s parents were arrested after hurling expletives at the groom’s family.

And in perhaps the most shocking incident, one guest at a Derbyshire wedding was arrested for rape.

While most services pass without incident, Mr Taylor added: “The trouble is these are times of incredible emotion, and any time alcohol is involved and families are brought together that can be fractious.”