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Pastors will take to the streets for your safety

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

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A double launch is taking place next week to officially mark the arrival of a new night-time scheme to keep clubbers and pubs safe in Skegness.

Coinciding with the arrival of the seaside town's street pastors project, Lincolnshire Police are organising a multi-agency 'Safe Zone' event.

Using a mobile police station as a 'hub' for the Grand Parade overnight operation, officers will be joined by staff from the East Midlands Ambulance Service, Addaction and the Terrence Higgins Trust.

It will launch at 8pm next Thursday, December 12 – just an hour after the start of the street pastors' dedication service in St Matthew's Church.

It will start a concerted operation aimed at the rising numbers of young people out on the streets over Christmas and New Year.

"The festive season is traditionally a time of year when more people are out at night celebrating," said Sergeant Geoff Harrison, from the Skegness neighbourhood community patrol.

"For some, this is the only time of year they go out and we want to ensure that both locals and visitors have a safe and positive experience of Skegness.

"The increase in the amount of people drinking alcohol and potentially using controlled drugs has a direct influence on the levels of violent crime and disorder.

"And we aim to tackle the problem through early intervention.

"And the voluntary street pastors provide an invaluable supporting role.

"That could be assisting those who are the worse for wear in getting a taxi home, phoning a relative for them, or providing a pair of flip-flops for someone struggling to walk in their high heels.

"On occasions, a listening ear may be all that is required."

Skegness street pastors' co-ordinator Maureen Carrington-Hunt revealed that her 10-strong team were having a night off on December 12.

"We'll all be at the dedication service and we want as many people as possible to attend," said the 46-year-old assistant to The Storehouse Christian church pastor Dave Middleton, based in the town's East Parade.

"But every other Thursday night we'll have a team on the streets, similar to the scheme which operates so well in Lincoln.

"We were specifically asked by the police to cover Thursdays because they're so busy in Skegness."

Safe Zone initiatives have already been held in other Lincolnshire towns.

Lincolnshire Police said in a statement: "They have already been well received by party-goers and it is not about spoiling anyone's fun.

"On the contrary, this form of preventative policing and multi-agency education, combining a highly visible presence with plain clothes activity, ensures our streets are safe for everyone.

"Potential troublemakers will be identified at an early stage and may be dealt with by use of section 27 notices.

"They give police the power to direct individuals to leave the area, helping law-abiding revellers enjoy themselves in a safe and secure environment."

To join the street pastors team, call 01754 763362.

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