17 August 2009
Blackwood town centre is soon to benefit from a dedicated team of volunteer Street Pastors, who will work alongside the emergency services, licensing authorities and other agencies on Friday and Saturday nights to help curb disorder and anti-social behaviour.
Supported by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership, the team of 30 volunteers will commence training next month, with a view to beginning patrols later this year.
Street Pastors will work primarily in Blackwood town centre on busy Friday and Saturday nights, offering support and guidance to people. The volunteers will carry out a pastoral role, which will include preventing people from becoming victims of crime, promoting personal safety and promoting community safety in the town centre.The Street Pastors will also wear easily recognisable uniforms to ensure that they are highly visible.
Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "The Street Pastor scheme has been very effective in other areas of the country, so it is pleasing that a similar scheme is to be set up in the Caerphilly county borough.
I am sure that the Street Pastors will bring a calming influence to Blackwood town centre on busy Friday and Saturday nights, and will complement the work of the police, council and other local agencies in reducing disorder and anti-social behaviour."
The Street Pastor scheme was initiated in Jamaica in 2001 as a Christian response to violent crime.
Brixton realised the benefits of this initiative and launched the first UK scheme in 2003 to combat the urban problems encountered in towns and cities throughout the country. The scheme is now running in more than 60 other towns and cities in the UK.
Street Pastor co-ordinator David Hatch said, "Street Pastors have now become a familiar sight on an increasing number of our city streets across the country, and by working alongside the police and other agencies, they have seen some very dramatic improvements in the levels of street crime, anti-social behaviour and bringing greater safety to the streets in the early hours.
I know that the churches of the local area have a wonderful group of caring individuals who want to make a difference – some who are themselves quite young, but also those who are young at heart, but with a wealth of experience – and who want to serve, and be able to demonstrate in real life situations the Love of God in very practical ways."
Caerphilly Partnership Inspector Alan Webber said, "The Street Pastors will support the role of the emergency services in Blackwood town centre, helping to engage with individuals who may become vulnerable for a variety of reasons and promoting community safety within the town centre. They can offer advice and support at an early stage to prevent that individual becoming a victim of crime of getting into trouble. This is an extremely worthwhile scheme and we are looking forward to the Street Pastors joining us on the streets of Blackwood."
Further information on the Street Pastor scheme is available at www.streetpastors.co.uk
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