Diocese of Carlisle

    Former senior police officer is new Diocesan Safeguarding Panel chair

    Latest News
    22 Sept. 2023

    A former Detective Superintendent has been appointed the new independent chair of the Diocese of Carlisle’s Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP).

    Allan Harder comes to the post having worked for North Yorkshire Constabulary for more than 30 years, serving as the force’s lead on safeguarding for four years. Since retiring from the police in February 2022 he has also acted as the independent DSAP chair for the Diocese of York.

    He takes over the role after previous DSAP chair, Carol Holt, announced she was to step down. Carol had also acted as an independent reviewer for the Diocese of Carlisle as part of the Church of England’s national Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2).

    Allan said: “It was lovely to be asked about taking on this role. It is important for a number of reasons: to help ensure the Church is a safer place and in turn that the people of Cumbria are safer.

    “After talking with members of the safeguarding team, knowing that I had the time and skills needed for the role, I decided this was something I very much wanted to do. It will be a role in which I can advise, share information, discuss, and support. However, being independent means I can also challenge where necessary and professionally hold the Diocese to account.

    “It is reassuring to see the high priority that the Diocese of Carlisle places on safeguarding as together we will work to ensure that our church communities are safer places for children, young people and vulnerable adults.”

    Allan served nearly all of his time with North Yorkshire Constabulary as a detective, rising to the rank of Detective Superintendent. As the force’s lead on safeguarding, responsibilities included domestic abuse, child abuse, serious sexual offences, overseeing the management of registered sex offenders, and leading the non-recent abuse investigation team. The role also included working effectively with partner agencies including health, adult and children’s social care and the Church, sitting as a police representative on the Diocese of York’s DSAP.

    The DSAP meets quarterly, and its membership includes clergy, a local authority officer, police representation, a representative for victims and survivors of church-related abuse, and diocesan officers. The Panel offers advice and challenge both to the Diocese and Carlisle Cathedral as a ‘critical friend’. Its functions include providing a source of independent advice and expertise on sound safeguarding policies, procedures and practices to the bishops and other senior clergy and officials and to have particular regard to the Church’s responses to survivors of abuse perpetrated by church officers, whilst also considering responses to others in church settings who are survivors of abuse.

    Joanna Van Lachterop, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, said: “Allan has tremendous safeguarding experience both as a senior police officer and within a Diocesan context, so we are delighted that he has agreed to take on the independent role of DSAP chair.

    “I very much look forward to working alongside him as we continue to further reinforce our safeguarding practices and protocols to the benefit of all in our church communities. I’m sure that Parish Safeguarding Officers across the county will join me in welcoming Allan while also passing on our huge thanks to Carol Holt for the support, encouragement, and oversight she brought during her time in post.”

    The Rt Rev Rob Saner-Haigh, Bishop of Penrith and Diocesan lead on safeguarding, added: “I am so pleased that Allan has agreed to take on the role of independent DSAP chair.

    “He has a wealth of experience in the field of safeguarding both in his professional policing capacity and through his work with the Diocese of York. This will be vital to our work as we seek to embed the strongest possible safeguarding protocols.

    “I would also like to thank Carol Holt for the dedication, experience, and wisdom which she brought to her time as independent DSAP chair. Carol, Allan, and the whole Safeguarding Advisory Panel will be in my prayers for all the important work they do.”


    For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.