Portsmouth Street Pastors
Portsmouth Street pastors is a volunteer Street patrol scheme that operates in Portsmouth City Centre and Southsea.
Every Friday and Saturday nights teams of trained volunteer stress pastors patrol the City Centre area of Portsmouth and the Albert and Palmerston Road areas of Southsea. They look out for those who may have become vulnerable and offer support in a non-judgmental way – regardless of the circumstances.
The scheme has been running in Portsmouth since 2007 and is one of around 280 different Town or City locations which benefit from Street pastor Patrols. Since 2007 there are have been around 150 different volunteers giving up time to be part of a patrol team in Portsmouth. Each volunteer goes through a program of training before they can be part of a street team. In the first year of patrols, Street Pastors contributed to seeing a reduction of nearly 40% in public place violent crime – a big step towards a safer and kinder City.
Street Pastor teams consisting of 4 members (men and women) and operate in close partnership with Police, door staff and paramedics where necessary although the roles are very different. A typical patrol will start around 9.30pm when the team gathers for briefing and be on the street through to around 3am. On the streets they will carry a kitbag with tissues, wet-wipes, flip-flops, thermal blankets and various things to help support people who might need it.
In 2014 teams responded to around 600 incidents, the majority of these related to vulnerability and checking people were ok. If they needed support or help in gathering their senses, finding their friends or being helped to find a taxi home then the teams would offer that help.
Street Pastors is an inter-denominational church response to challenges in urban nightlife hot spots. Volunteers offer practical support and do not preach but if people ask then they are happy to chat about their motivation and faith.