The following is taken from the Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters Website, which is in our corps district. Observation: when the Salvation Army stops doing its God ordained job, He will raise someone else up to do it!
This new force is being recruited to take to the streets of Weston-super-Mare with the primary aim of working with young people.
Street Pastors form part of a nationwide inter-denominational church response to urban problems, including binge drinking and anti social behaviour.
The pastors wear a distinctive uniform and engage with young people and have already had considerable success with drops in crime, where the teams have been working in other parts of the country.
The Weston-super-Mare project will be the first street pastor scheme to be launched in a police force in the South West.
Weston-super-Mare police sector deputy, Sergeant Dave Holtby said: “Each project is run by a local co-ordinator with support from local churches in partnership with ourselves, the local authority and other statutory agencies. A street pastor is normally a church leader, minister or member of a church with a concern for their society – in particular young people who feel they are being excluded and marginalised, but not exclusively so. They are willing to engage with people – whether it is on the streets, in the pubs and clubs, or at parties.
“To be a street pastor you need to be over 18 (there is no upper age limit), a church member and able to commit to a 12-session training course. This includes subjects such as counselling skills, drugs awareness, sociology, knowing your community, role and responsibility and street safety,” explained PS Holtby.
Street pastor teams will consist of four people drawn from a current volunteer list of 27, each of which will work one night a month, usually between 10pm and 4am.
Their work on the streets will involve them engaging with people on the streets. While they will concentrate on young people, they will make themselves equally available to and offer appropriate help to, people from all walks of life, whatever their race, colour, creed or background.
“The ethos of street pastors is not to preach at people but to support and help them in whatever way they can,” added PS Holtby.
The commissioning service of the new street pastors is to take place on Saturday October 28 at 10.30am at Emmanuel Church, Oxford Street in Weston-super-Mare. The service is to be taken by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price.