Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Street pastors to double patrols

Street Pastor in Maidstone
The Street Pastors go out in Maidstone on alternate Saturdays

A Christian group that patrols the streets of a Kent town on Saturday nights to help stranded or drunken revellers is planning to expand.

Street Pastors have been going out in Maidstone fortnightly, but want to double volunteer numbers from 12 to 24, so they can go out weekly.

Kent Police said early crime figures showed a "marked reduction" in incidents when they were on duty.

"I, for one, am very glad they are here," said Pc Duncan Pallett.

"They help in an amazing array of ways. Not only do they pray for people, but they offer practical solutions to problems.

When my teenagers were growing up I used to lie in bed wishing there was someone out there to pick them up if they needed help


Street Pastor volunteer

"They can turn their hand to pretty much anything, be it calling taxis to offering ladies with high heels the salvation of flip flops."

One of the volunteers, who are from local churches, said they helped with a variety of difficulties.

"A lot of people have purses stolen, or have problems getting a taxi home," she said.

"They might have upsets with their friends and get abandoned.

"When my teenagers were growing up I used to lie in bed wishing there was someone out there to pick them up if they needed help."

'Take abuse'

A security spokesman for Jumpin Jaks and the Liquid and Envy nightclubs said the Street Pastors had spent time with the doormen.

"It is great because they have seen some of the abuse we have to take," he said.

The Street Pastors are holding a recruitment evening on 14 January at the Salvation Army HQ in Maidstone.

Volunteers must be Christians and complete a 12-session training course before beginning work.



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