Saturday, 31 December 2011

CSP Report - 31st December 2011

Chesterfield Street Pastors
Report for Saturday 31st December 2011

Street Pastors in good spirits prior to starting their patrol

Expectations were high that this would be the busiest and most challenging night since we commenced our Saturday night patrols at the beginning of September.  As a result for the first time we put out three groups of Street Pastors from 10pm until 3am. Although it was a busy night, the atmosphere was generally friendly and free from serious aggression. Our conclusions reflecting back over the first 4 months of our operation are that our busiest and most challenging night was on Halloween

Statistical Information
            13 pairs of flip-flops supplied
            11 bottles of water supplied
            3 space blankets supplied
            66 bottles/glasses collected and made safe
            51 significant conversations

Narrative Information
There was a heavy police and ambulance presence out on the streets and it was clear that any disturbances were dealt with quickly before they had the chance to turn into serious fights. The fact that we were not called on to supply first aid was an indicator of the fact that these were being dealt with by the paramedics who were on duty. Our conversations with them indicated that they had been quite busy and they had concluded that the cost of putting on the Town Centre Triage service had been worthwhile because of the savings it had made for people being treated in the Casualty Department at the Royal Hospital. Evidence of good teamwork was provided when one of the paramedics requested a pair of flip-flops for a young woman with a foot injury.

We came across the usual assortment of drunken people on the streets and provided what assistance we could. In one case we came across a young woman who had collapsed on the pavement and was being assisted by two young men. We quickly established that the woman had no injuries and although drunk would be able to get home safely in a taxi. Discussions revealed that the men were complete strangers to the woman and had simply stopped to offer assistance. This scenario has been repeated on many occasions during the first four months of our operation and we are always careful to try to ensure that we do not expose people to the risk of people taking advantage of them whilst they are drunk. It is highly likely that the two men had been motivated by a genuine desire to assist, but as always we were careful and invited them to leave when the woman indicated that she did not need their assistance. We were able to assist her to a nearby taxi office where the management were extremely helpful and she was able to jump the queue for a taxi home. We do spend considerable time cultivating good relationships with the taxi proprietors and we have a good understanding with them.

We dealt with a young man who was sitting on the pavement, worse for wear. He already had a bottle of water and friends were supporting him while awaiting a taxi. Sadly the situation turned volatile when the friends had a disagreement in the adjacent takeaway and police had to keep them apart. The young man, though, recovered sufficiently to stand up and get involved in the argument!

Having been requested by the police to assist with a drunken female we discovered on our arrival that she had made a complaint that she had been assaulted earlier in the evening and arrangements were being made for her to be interviewed. She was showing signs of shock and looked very cold so we assistance by providing her with a space blanket.

We also bumped into one of our regulars who over the months has reported a life messed up by broken relationships, homelessness etc but on this occasion we were pleased to see that she was getting her life together and looking forward to a brighter 2012 than had been the case in the year about to end.

Walking through the Crooked Spire churchyard one of our teams came across a young women sitting on a wall alone. Initially it was difficult to get a conversation going with her and her body language (huddled, head down) suggested she was reluctant to be disturbed. However it was felt that she would not be safe to be left alone and after sitting near her and some tentative questioning from a female SP the girl divulged that she had some mental health issues and had simply walked out of the house and come into town alone. Attempts were made to persuade her to contact friends or family and after a while she found her mobile, dialled home and handed the phone to the SP to initiate contact. It turned out that her family had reported her missing and the police were in attendance at home. The police officer asked the SP to stay with the girl while they contacted the police in town, who arrived quickly and she went willingly to sit in their car and talk with them.

This situation was another example of how SPs can work hand-in-hand with other agencies and support families. It also served as a reminder that there can be more to a scenario than meets the eye - the SP's initial assumption was that the girl had been partying and become separated from friends, as is often the case, but instead there were deeper issues that took a little time to begin to understand.

We only see snippets of these life stories but God knows all the issues intimately and it is good to know we can keep talking to Him about these people after the event.

We were surprised by the lack of exuberant celebration on the streets at midnight which used to be the case prior to extensive late night premises and by the fact that New Years Eve was actually quieter than was the case on Halloween.

At 3am we concluded that the late night revellers still in the town would be there until 6am or after, so we decided to go home and reflect on our experiences since setting up Street Pastors

We have enjoyed being part of the Late Night Economy Community since September. We always have a sense of teamwork and our presence on the streets is view very positively. We look forward to new developments in 2012. Happy New Year!