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Street Pastors

On 17/02/16 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

In a quiet country pub just after it opened at 11am on a Friday (Harvey’s, the Dorset in Lewes), I met Brian Arnott who leads on partnership development for the Ascension Trust who look after the growing number of Street Pastor schemes.

The Ascension Trust was formed in 1993 by a church leader in London as he sought to provide churches with the tools for participation in a 21st century society. It is now the governing body for eight church-led initiatives; the most well-known of which is street pastors. Street pastors now exist in 280 different places all over the UK. If you want to search and find one in a particular town or city, you can use this link or the Ascension Trust website.

To be a street pastor, you have to be recommended by your local church (of any denomination), undertake eight days of training spread over a number of weeks, and have a CRB check (Disclosure & Baring Service). You also have to pay a one off fee of £300 for your training.

Funding comes from a range of sources; charities like the Jerusalem Trust (owned by Sainsbury’s), local authorities, police and of course local churches.

Why are Street Pastors of interest to us? Without doubt much of the emphasis on alcohol has moved away from the Department of Health and over to the Home Office which is working on a Modern Crime Prevention Strategy to be launched in March. In a chapter on alcohol, there is likely to be mention of ‘safe areas’ as alternatives to taking people who have drunk too much to A&E. There are currently 19 safe areas operating across the UK and three are funded by street pastors. Whilst alcohol consumption has fallen 19% since 2004, there is a still a perception of problems in our towns and city centres.

The BBPA and our members support a range of partnership schemes from Best Bar None to Business Improvement Districts and Pubwatch. We perhaps need to start adding street pastors to that list and here are a few ideas which Brian and I discussed on how individual companies can help:

  • Make sure your local pubs know about a local street pastor scheme and make them welcome
  • Consider offering a room in one of your pubs for street pastor training
  • Where there is a local street pastor scheme, make sure you know how to get in touch, and if you need support, give them a call. They are all linked by mobile phone when out and about, and you can find the number on their site
  • Consider advertising support for street pastors on your website (possible poster to be considered)
  • Provide local funding

I think we have all been impressed with the work of street pastors and they are currently working out how much they save the public purse through their patrols, and the advice and help they offer. The police in Ealing believe that crime and assault cases go down 50% when they are on patrol and in Cullompton, Devon, local police highlighted a 14.3% reduction in crime after a year of a local scheme.


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