Street pastors for North Devon village?
BRAUNTON police and local churches are hoping to set up a Street Pastors scheme tailored to suit the needs of the village. The initiative has met with great success in Bideford and Ilfracombe as well as across the country, ensuring late night revellers st
BRAUNTON police and local churches are hoping to set up a Street Pastors scheme tailored to suit the needs of the village.
The initiative has met with great success in Bideford and Ilfracombe as well as across the country, ensuring late night revellers stay safe and helping to reduce disorder.
But in Braunton police say the problem is more about under-age drinking and working with the local churches they hope to gain approval for a new version of the scheme.
It is suggested this would focus on the earlier part of the night, such as 7-11pm rather than the early hours and be aimed at befriending youngsters and making sure they are safe.
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"The Street Pastors are an incredibly good idea and it clearly works in the bigger towns and cities," said Sergeant Jeff Pearce at Braunton Police Station.
"So we'd like to look at trying to adapt it to suit Braunton and the problems we have with under-age drinking or anti-social behaviour earlier in the evening."
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Before anything happens the scheme would need to be approved by the Ascension Trust - which runs the nationwide Christian initiative, providing rules, guidance and training for individual local teams - as well as the police management.
The Vicar of Braunton, the Reverend Anne Thorne, has been in touch with the trust and is working with them on how to go about it.
She has been out with Ilfracombe's Street Pastors on a Saturday night and was impressed by their work:
"It is an amazing set up and has done the Christians in Ilfracombe so much good, to be seen out on the streets and helping people," she said.
"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to do something very positive for our community and to be seen to care."
A meeting was being held at St Brannock's Rooms on Friday, with Ilfracombe Street Pastors invited to talk about the scheme.