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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Carlisle police praise street pastors for their help

A police sergeant has praised the work of street pastors, saying they “help a huge amount”.

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Working together: Street Pastor The Rev David Hasson and Sergeant Liz Graham out on the streets of Carlisle

The team go out into Carlisle city centre on Saturday nights to help people who are the worse for wear.

People who have had too much to drink are given water and those who haven’t worn appropriate clothing are warmed up with blankets or given sandals instead of high heels.

Before the team started this work it would have to be done by police officers.

Sgt Liz Graham said: “In the past if there was a drunk female we would have to spend time trying to find somebody to look after her.

“Another example is a female who is very intoxicated, but not enough to require an ambulance.

“We can get the pastors to come and look after her.

“They are always about and it frees up officers. It can help a huge amount.”

The street pastor team took up their Saturday night duties around two years ago. On other occasions where the town is expected to be busy at night time the group liaise with the police to decide the best course of action.

The Rev David Hasson, a Methodist minister, says that the reaction to the pastors has been very positive.

He explained: “I was quite surprised at the way we have been received.

“We were a bit nervous about going out into Botchergate but really it’s a party atmosphere.

“People stop and talk to you.”

There are currently 24 pastors in the team. The criteria for being a pastor is that you must be involved with a church and be more than 18 years old.

The pastors go out into town between 10pm and 3am.

Mr Hasson said: “We are out there for anybody who is vulnerable.”

JJohnson@cngroup.co.uk

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