The Church of England has said it took every action necessary when it came to light that its Diocesan Secretary in Ipswich was being investigated by police. 

Gavin Bultitude, 57, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday 2 August, where he was made subject to a Sexual Risk Order (SRO) for five years.  

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, an SRO is an order generally made against an individual who has not been convicted or cautioned for an offence, but who nevertheless is thought to pose a risk of harm to the public and/or children or vulnerable adults. 

The order will place restrictions on Mr Bultitude’s use of the internet and computer software, as well as his contact with children. 

Until February, Mr Bultitude, from Ipswich, was working as a Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. He had undertaken the role towards the end of July last year. 

The Right Reverend Dr Mike Harrison is the Bishop of Dunwich, and Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education. 

He confirmed that he suspended Mr Bultitude as soon as the church was made aware of a police investigation having opened into his online activities outside of work. 

“We were massively concerned as soon as we heard about an allegation having been made, and as soon we heard about the allegation and the police investigation, we suspended him,” said Revd Harrison.  

He explained that Mr Bultitude’s role as Diocesan Secretary would have been essentially that of a chief operating officer, overseeing finances and governance of the Diocese with human resources responsibilities. 

Revd Harrison said that, upon hearing of the allegation made, the church immediately began the correct safeguarding procedures. 

“We swiftly moved through that, and he moved from being suspended to being dismissed within four weeks of the allegation coming to light,” he said.  

“Like everybody else in that kind of role, he was DBS checked before starting work.” 

He added that the allegation made refers to Mr Bultitude’s online activities outside of work. 

John Howard is a spokesperson for the Church of England in Suffolk. 

He said: “Mr Bultitude did not work directly with children during his employment of less than a year with the diocese, and we have received no complaints about his conduct in the workplace, however we acted quickly following the commencement of the police investigation and have been awaiting the outcome of the investigation before commenting. 

“Mr Bultitude’s role is now being undertaken by the Deputy Diocesan Secretary until we recruit a new Diocesan Secretary.” 

Ipswich Star: Reverend Mike Harrison, The Bishop of Dunwich and Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, said the church was 'massively concerned' when the allegations came to light. Image: NewsquestReverend Mike Harrison, The Bishop of Dunwich and Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, said the church was 'massively concerned' when the allegations came to light. Image: Newsquest (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Bultitude also worked in adult social care services at Suffolk County Council for a number of years. 

A spokesperson for the council clarified that he never had a frontline role working with children, and instead worked in a financial and resource management role.  

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: "Suffolk Police has informed us of this order in relation to a former employee. We take the safeguarding of children extremely seriously and support all efforts to prevent harm and abuse." 

 A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: “Suffolk Police will look to routinely utilise the provision of SROs in cases where the evidential threshold is not met to achieve the criminal prosecution of offenders, ensuring that all the powers at the disposal of officers are being used to safeguard members of the public.”