Tim Purves vigorously defends the role of funeral directors following a high profile fine imposed on an English firm for not policing unexpected crowds in The Scotland on Sunday newspaper.
Funeral directors have been stepping forward at a time of crisis for months now. Our profession has faced the pandemic, the burden of bereaved families whilst pivoting to ensure our valuable services remain open and accessible to all who need us. As we hit the grim marker of 100,000 deaths in the UK earlier this week, we now face an invisible threat to our ability to serve communities when they need us the most.
Policing unexpected crowds at a funeral, and the fear of fines imposed on professionals who are doing their best in these demanding times, is simply not on. We are funeral directors, not law enforcers. When we attend a funeral, our priority is the family we are caring for including their deceased loved one. A funeral team of three is no match for a spontaneous crowd.
From the outset of this pandemic, we have responsibly guided families through the fast-changing restrictions that were imposed – often within hours – to ensure they, and we, were legally compliant. We’ve created innovative solutions to allow neighbours and communities to pay their respects by creating cortege routes that allow for safe distancing, passing places of significance or by offering live streaming/recording online where possible.
Funeral directors like us are not the police. Not only do we lack the knowledge and resources, our focus is, and will continue to be, our bereaved families who need our compassion, dedication, integrity and respect.