The Street Pastors initiative wants to offer a helping hand to even more revellers in Maidstone by doubling the number of patrols in the town centre each month.
There are currently 12 Street Pastors patrolling the streets every second Saturday night but the Maidstone branch hopes to double in number so that it can go out every Saturday.
Street Pastors was set up five years ago in London by the Rev Les Isaac to help stranded revellers and make the streets a safer place on the week’s busiest pubbing and clubbing nights. The initiative proved so successful that it was rolled out across the country, with more towns starting up this year from Stirling in Scotland to Southampton in southern England.
Maidstone Street Pastors was launched by local churches in January 2008 as part of the Hope08 initiative, a nationwide church movement to restore hope in local communities by living out the Gospel through practical action.
Although the first teams only went out last October, they are already making a significant impact. Kent Police have reported a “marked reduction” in incidents when Street Pastors were on patrol in the town centre, according to the BBC.
"I, for one, am very glad they are here," said Pc Duncan Pallett, according to the BBC.
"They help in an amazing array of ways. Not only do they pray for people, but they offer practical solutions to problems.
"They can turn their hand to pretty much anything, be it calling taxis to offering ladies with high heels the salvation of flip flops."
Street Pastors are recruited from the local church and receive 12 sessions of training before being dispatched onto the streets. A recruitment evening will be held at the Union Street Salvation Army on January 14 from 8pm – 9.30pm.
Street Pastors to expand Maidstone patrols
By: Anne Thomas
Sunday, 11 January 2009, 16:30 (EST)
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