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Police officers practising witchcraft allowed to set up Pagan Police Association

Printer-friendly version   Pagan police officers who practise witchcraft have been allowed by the Home Office to establish the Pagan Police Association and given the right to take eight days off work a year to celebrate their ‘religious holidays’ incl

Pagan police officers who practise witchcraft have been allowed by the Home Office to establish the Pagan Police Association and given the right to take eight days off work a year to celebrate their ‘religious holidays’ including Halloween and the summer solstice.

PC Andy Pardy, a leading pagan officer from Hertfordshire Police who is practising Wicca, met with Home Office officials this week to push for more recognition for pagan officers. He is a heathen which means he worships Norse gods, including the hammer-wielding Thor, the one-eyed Odin and Freyr, the god of fertility, The Daily Telegraph reported. He has been allowed to take a total of eight pagan holidays a year instead of the traditional public holidays. The pagan holidays include Halloween, which signifies the Pagan new year, and the summer solstice in June.

PC Pardy said:

‘Paganism is not the new age, tree hugging fad that some people think it is. It is not the clandestine, horrible, evil thing that people think it is. A lot of people think it is about dancing naked around a fire but the rituals are not like that.

‘It involves chanting, music, meditation, reading passages and for pagans the practices are seen to have the same power as prayer does for Christians. Most pagans practice some kind of conservation work as well to give something back to the planet.’

PC Pardy, who is also an equality and diversity representative for his police force, said he now hoped to set up a Pagan Police Association to 'provide support and guidance’ to pagan police officers in the United Kingdom who want to fit their beliefs around their police work. He also admitted that using pagan spells could help gain a promotion on the force.

A spokesman for the Home Office confirmed the meeting with PC Pardy this week. He said:

'The Government wants a police service that reflects the diverse communities it serves. It is down to individual forces to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the religion or beliefs of individual officers, as far as operational requirements permit.’

PC Hill, the founder of the Pagan Police Group UK, a website for pagan police officers and their families launching on 1 August, said:

‘Wiccan has always been a bit of a taboo religion, there are lots of misconceptions around it.

‘This is nothing to do with black magic, or devil worshipping. Witchcraft is not the hocus pocus, puff of smoke, turning people into frogs stuff you see on the TV. It is working with nature for good.’

PC Hill, who has six years service and has also been a practising Wiccan for seven years, said that the pagan spells are not to be used for catching criminals.

Supt Simon Hawkins, Hertfordshire's force champion for faith, said: 'While balancing operational needs, the force's religion and beliefs policy gives all staff the choice of re-allocating the traditional Christian bank-holiday festivals to suit their personal faith.

'This has been very well received from a number of faith groups, including Muslim and Jewish.'

(See Daily Mail report)

Paganism is the blanket term given to describe religions and spiritual practices of pre-Christian Europe, and by extension a term for polytheistic traditions or folk religion worldwide. It has modern connotations of a faith that has polytheistic, spiritualist, animistic or shamanic practices, such as a folk religion, historical polytheistic or neo-pagan religion.

Wicca, also called 'Witch cult' and 'Witchcraft', implies a belief in magic that can be manipulated through the form of witchcraft or sorcery.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 30,500 people practicing paganism in England and Wales in 2001. Last year the Home Office introduced the Pagan oath for use in the courts.

Mark Mullins, on behalf of CCFON, comments:

‘We are seeing the result of a society that has lost its cohesion once provided by the Christian faith. It is worrying that PC Pardy is willing to use spells presumably against other officers to gain promotion. Police officers in this country once gained their respect in the community for being upholders of law and order which was rooted in the Judeo Christian ethic. The police officer was once regarded a selfless pillar of service within the community: What better code for today’s community police officer than to live out the teaching of Christ to love our neighbour as ourselves and so provide an example for the community to follow. Paganism offers no such inspirational goals for the 21st Century Police Force.’

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