Out on Patrol with East Grinstead Street Pastors
Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne went back to her roots recently to go out on patrol with East Grinstead Street Pastors and see first-hand the work they carry out in the community each week to help keep vulnerable people safe.
Last year, the Pastors received grant funding worth £3,000 from the PCC’s ‘Safer in Sussex’ Fund to recruit and train new volunteers, provide office equipment, and for emergency disposables such as flip flops, water and hypothermia blankets.
The Street Pastors help address many community issues, particularly anti-social behaviour, by providing a calming influence on the streets when pubs and clubs are closing their doors. They also help vulnerable people, such as those under the influence of alcohol, get home safely.
Commenting on her visit, Mrs Bourne said: “I enjoyed spending the evening walking around the town with the Street Pastors to see how they patrol and, importantly, build community cohesion so that people in East Grinstead can feel safe. It was great to see them talking to people enjoying a night out and I could really feel the bond they’ve made with some of the town’s young people who approached them for a friendly chat, a lollipop, and even a ‘Pastor hug’.
“It’s been a long time since I was out after dark in East Grinstead – Martine’s was still called Clouds back then. It was good to retrace some familiar steps and to see how much the town has changed over the years.
“East Grinstead was very different when I was growing up there. I remember Fry’s (the butchers), Midlands Bank (as it was then) and Wickendens (the sweet shop). My mother used to run a local hairdressers and when the new one-way system was built my brother and I sat in the shop window watching lots of people going round it the wrong way! I’m sure our local police officer was called out because of it more times than he cared to remember.
“Despite these changes, East Grinstead is still a place I call home and it was reassuring to see that people still care about their community. The Street Pastors are ordinary people volunteering their time to engage with local people and it’s important that we all recognise and value the part they play in helping the police to keep our streets safer.”
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