Police and Cardinal to review last rites guidance after Catholic MP's murder

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Guidance for police officers on when Catholic priests can perform last rites at crime scenes is to be reviewed following the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

It follows reports that a priest was unable to perform the last rites for Sir David because he was barred by officers from entering the church where the Catholic MP was fatally stabbed.

Catholic leader Cardinal Vincent Nichols has announced that he will be working together with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick on guidelines around access to "scenes of traumatic violence" for Catholic priests.

They have agreed to establish a joint group that will consider what access is provided or refused to Catholic priests at the scene of violent attacks, and whether any changes need to be made to current guidance.

Cardinal Nichols said: "In recent times questions have arisen concerning the access given, or refused, to Catholic priests to scenes of traumatic violence, such as the violent death of Sir David Amess.

"The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and I have agreed to establish a joint group to study this issue and whether any changes are required to the guidance issued to officers faced with such a situation.

"I am grateful to the Commissioner for this agreement and I am confident that it will help to establish a helpful way forward in this matter of considerable sensitivity and importance to the Catholic community."

The formation of the joint study group was confirmed by Cardinal Nicholas shortly after he met Dame Cressida ahead of the Catholic Police Guild's annual Requiem Mass.

The Mass was held at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday in memory of officers who have died in the line of duty, and was attended by the Commissioner.