Friday, 16 December 2011

CSP Report - 16th December 2011

Chesterfield Street Pastors Report
Friday 16th December 2011

This was a first for Chesterfield Street Pastors; a Friday night patrol being the first of three to reflect the expected increased numbers of revellers celebrating the Christmas season.  Four Street Pastors patrolled from 10pm to 2.45am, with one Prayer Pastor supporting them at the base. There was a heavy police presence along with teams of ambulance personnel providing a Town Centre Triage service.

Statistical Information
                4 pairs of flip-flops issued
                6 bottles of water supplied
                3 incidents of minor first aid provided
                14 glasses and bottles recovered and made safe
                16 significant conversations
                1 situation calmed (partially at least)
Narrative Information
The statistical information indicates a quieter night than would be the norm for a Saturday night and overall that was true. However, there were lots of people on the streets, particularly between 10pm and 1am and the heavy police presence did have a positive impact on the behaviour of people. We felt that the situation could have been much more problematic but for the early police interventions observed by the team.

We are now well tuned to spot people who are vulnerable, as indicated in the case of a young woman we discovered, who although under the influence of alcohol, was still capable of standing and holding a conversation. She was not feeling well and admitted to being vulnerable because she had become detached from her friends. We supplied her with a bottle of water and waited with her whilst she successfully contacted her friends on her mobile telephone and arranged for them to meet up with her.  The water had a very positive impact and having assured her that we would come back and check that she was OK within the next 15 minutes so she must not move unless reunited with her friends we continued our patrol. On our return she had obviously met up with her friends and presumably resumed her night out.

Having been on the streets on Saturday nights for more than 3 months now, we often have people initiating conversations with us very directly about our Christian faith. One man coming out the Envy Night Club when he saw us immediately said “Street Pastors I’m glad I have seen you answer me this question “If God made the world, who made God?”

We had a long discussion in which some of his assumptions about Christians were found to be false on the basis of the combined experiences of the team. The assumptions included “Christians are mainly middle class and nothing bad happens to them”, “Poor people in Ethiopia would not as readily believe in God” (He was surprised to discover that one of the team members had lived in Ethiopia and could confirm that most of the poor people there had a strong belief in God).  It should be stressed that this conversation was entirely led by the man, we simply responded to his questions and statements. We recognise that we are not on the streets to preach, but we would be failing in our responsibility if we did not answer to the best of our ability genuine questions addressed to us.

We did clean up the occasional sick person, but there were nowhere near the normal numbers of seriously drunken people on the streets as indicated by the complete lack of calls from CCTV and other agencies.
The lack of calls for our service meant that we had time available to talk to the door security staff, taxi proprietors and fast food purveyors, who by now know us all very well and often enquire about other members of our team.

We were present in Holywell Street when a serious fight broke out between two young men. We called the police via the radio and one member of the team decided to intervene when there was a risk of serious injury because the men were fighting in the middle of the busy road and at one stage, one was kicking the other as he lay on the ground. We would not normally intervene in a fight, but in this case the risk of serious injury to those involved forced us to attempt to prevent the worst outcomes from occurring. The intervention was not entirely successful; they would part at the request to stop fighting but then resume fighting. Fortunately the police response was speedy and successful.

This was a quiet night with the special arrangements working well. From what we were told by the door security staff next Friday will be “mad Friday”, so we regarded this night as gentle preparation for the real thing! The Town Centre Late Night Economy team were impressive and we were happy to be a part of it.