Christians to benefit from CI’s ‘Street Preachers’ Charter’

The Christian Institute has announced it is developing a ‘Street Preachers’ Charter’ to foster better relations between the police and Christians involved in street evangelism.

The Charter will outline the broad freedoms Christians currently enjoy, while also providing some guidance on good practice when preaching publicly.

It comes after Angus Cameron, a street preacher who was assisted by the Institute, received nearly £15,000 in compensation and legal costs after he was unlawfully arrested over a ‘hate crime incident’ and detained for over an hour in a police van.

Wealth of experience

The Institute has been involved in street preacher cases for over 15 years and has already published a guide on free speech and street evangelism for England and Wales, as well as providing training for street preaching groups.

It has also worked with the Metropolitan Police, the College of Policing, and Chief Constables, giving training sessions on how officers can maintain public order while also protecting Christians’ rights to free speech.

The Charter will draw on these documents and training resources, and the Institute hopes the guide will be endorsed by the police and used widely.

‘Fundamental rights’

Institute Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly told Premier Christian Radio: “This charter will set out the legal rights that are laid out in criminal and other legislation. At its most basic, there is a fundamental right to free speech in this country, but you can’t necessarily say what you like, where you like and when you like.

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“We want street preachers to be aware that there might be legitimate restrictions on street preaching activities – there might be a relevant byelaw in place, for example, or it might be a basic thing like not blocking a public highway.

“And the guide is going to remind evangelists to be calm and reasonable, to stick to what the Bible says, to always record what you’re doing and saying in case there are any spurious complaints later on.”

Improved understanding

Mr Kelly also said: “Our experience shows there’s a need for this – for people to know what the law does and doesn’t say. Publicly proclaiming the Word of God is entirely lawful in the United Kingdom.

“We enjoy great freedom in this country. It’s a country that’s enjoyed hundreds of years of religious freedom but it’s still wise to have some idea of the law before engaging in street evangelism. That’s just sensible.”

On the prospect of a police endorsement, he added: “We want it to be seen as an agreement or a common understanding between those who are sharing the Gospel on the street and the police, who have a job to do. We want to take some proactive steps to help preachers and the police understand one another better.

“Where we’ve done this before, we’ve seen a positive turnaround in the way the police deal with street preachers, so we want to use that experience through the Charter and spread the benefit more widely.”

Street evangelists wishing to receive more information on the CI’s planned Charter, as well as invitations to free training events, should email

Also see:

Street preacher wins £15k after wrongful arrest for ‘hate crime’

Finnish Christian MP twice cleared over ‘hate crime’ Bible tweet may face Supreme Court

CI remains ready to take Scot Govt to court over new ‘conversion practices’ law

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