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Daily News17-05-2010
Pagan Police...

The British Pagan Police Association (PPA) has three official police chaplains and committee members in the Metropolitan, Hertfordshire and Humberside policeforces.

Recently, it claimed that it had finally been recognised by the Home Office as a diversity staff support association. So what in practice does this longwinded phrase mean? If the PPA is recognised as diversity staff support association, Chief Constables could not refuse Pagan officers permission to take relevant feast days as part of their holiday entitlement.

PC Andrew Pardy; the PPA vice-chairman, who belongs to a sub group of paganism called heathenism, as well as working as a beat officer in Hemel Hempstead, commented: The Police Service needs to embrace paganism in order to represent communities effectively.`Mr Pardy also added All activities undertaken by the association support and reinforce the vision and values of the Police Service, while upholding the Home Office standards for equality and diversity.`

The PPA is not without its problems; one of the major Pagan festivals is Samhain which coincides with the secular festival of Hallowe`en; this is a time when police leave is often cancelled because of a rise in antisocial behaviour amongst the public.

More generally, there seems to be some concern in policing circles that the widening definition of `diversity is creating rampant growth in organisations based on religion, gender and sexual orientation throughout the service. Some officers outside of these argue that such organisations highlight division, rather than creating unity. Could this be the reason The Home Office says that it had refused a request for funding from the Police Pagan Association and doesn`t accept it as an official staff organisation?

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