Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe?
A. Town Pastors patrol in male/female pairs, in areas covered by CCTV, and have ShopSafe radios and mobile phones. They can call on police backup should they need it. No Town Pastor has been attacked, and their non-confrontational role has been shown to reduce violent crime in Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, as well as Newmarket.
Q. Am I too young/old?
A. There is no upper age limit, though you might have to walk several miles in a night. The less active might consider joining the prayer team, either at home or from our town centre base. While the youngest we can accept applications from is 18, younger people are welcome to pray at home.
Q. What sort of person becomes a Town Pastor?
A. A Christian who has the ability to listen to others without judging them, with a willingness to help the vulnerable, however they arrived at that state.
Q. What if I find a knife/drugs, etc…
A. These are to be handed over to the police for forensic analysis (if appropriate) and destruction. A container is supplied to carry sharp objects safely until they can be handed over. Our protocols and training deal with this subject in more detail.
Q. What are the effects of a Town Pastor scheme?
A. January 2010: Newmarket crime figures are coming down! Drink and drug related violence down 35%, public order offences down 21%, with Town Pastors cited as one of the contributors to this decline, during April-November 2009. See Weekly News article.
Some of the effects, based on information from Ipswich police:
- The reduction in Sexual Offences was 70%!
- Assaults on Police down 50%
- Section 4 Public Order Act (Fear of Violence) down 53.3%
- Section 18 Wounding down 25%
- Section 47 ABH down 31.4%
- Section GBH down 14.3%
These figures were taken from an evaluation report submitted to the National AMEC3 Campaign (Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign) which Suffolk took part in and the figures were compared to the previous year (when Town Pastors were not on Ipswich streets!)
In Bury St. Edmunds, total crime is down 11%, with the main reduction being night-time economy related.
Q. “Can you show us the way to Heaven?”
A. TP: “Certainly sir… which one?”