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Making our streets safer
8:37am Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
STREET pastors will be deployed for the first time tomorrow to help people suffering the after-effects of binge drinking on the streets of Kidderminster.
Volunteers from The Churches Together in Kidderminster will help people on their night out by handing out bottled water to anyone who has drunk too much and flip flops to girls struggling in high heels.
The street pastors will also be helping to clear the streets of glass and litter.
Rev Derek Arnold, chairman of the street pastors committee, said: “We will help anyone who has hurt themselves or drunk too much or just needs someone to talk to.”
The initiative, supported by West Mercia Police and Wyre Forest Community Safety Partnership, has been developed over the past 18 months, based on similar models in Bromsgrove and Worcester.
Mr Arnold added: “We have 16 street pastors trained to take the first patrol. After our commissioning service tomorrow we will all be doing a walk around the town, then the first team will begin their shift at 10pm.”
The scheme will see a team of street pastors patrol three times from 10pm until 4am every Friday night from their base at Baxter United Reformed Church in the Bull Ring.
Mr Arnold added: “Volunteers are from a variety of denominations in Kidderminster. Each pastor has had 12 lots of training to learn how to be safe.”
It costs about £350 for the training and uniform of each street pastor.
Grants have been provided by West Mercia Police and the Community Safety Partnership but donations and fund-raising might be used in the future to help with the running costs.
Wyre Forest District police Inspector Paul Crowley said: “We have fully supported the introduction of this initiative to Kidderminster from the outset and think that it is a positive development for the town.
“Street pastors are extensively trained and easily identified by their uniforms. They provide a listening ear and valuable support to people who may be in vulnerable situations.
“Their presence can diffuse situations and we are hoping that it will have a good effect on the anti-social behaviour of some people.”
Supporters are invited to the commissioning service at 7.30pm tomorrow at Baxter United Reformed Church.
What do you think of the street pastors initiative? Leave your comments below.