TOWN PASTOR SUNDAY 17th September, 2017
Eleven years have elapsed since the first appearance of Town Pastors on the streets of Ipswich. Staffed by members of local Christian Churches, Town Pastors now operate weekend patrols in ten Suffolk towns in addition to Dereham in Norfolk, and also make their own special contribution as Festival Pastors at the Latitude Music Festival.
Town Pastors are easily recognisable as they patrol in mixed sex teams with their high-viz yellow jackets. Each team usually come equipped with radios and predominantly patrol in the “night-time economy” where they can usually be seen at weekends, normally from 10 pm to 4 am. During their patrols Town Pastors regularly support “Door staff”, and supplement the work of the Police and emergency services in keeping people safe.
The overall work of Town Pastors has diverse local funding, but the single biggest supporter is the Police and Crime Commissioner (for Suffolk schemes) All Town Pastors receive comprehensive training, must have enhanced DBS checks, and are required to sign up to a standard protocol before being commissioned and issued with uniforms.
Prayer also plays a key role in the way Town Pastors operate, and patrols do not proceed should that support not be available.
Local Christian Churches support the ministry of Town Pastors and a number are holding a special service on “Town Pastor Sunday” 17th September, 2017. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend this special service where they will be warmly welcomed, and can learn more about the work of Town Pastors and get to meet some of those who patrol in their locality.
You can listen to a digest of a BBC Radio Suffolk interview from the Jon Wright show 17th September 2017.