Report on meeting on Engaging with the Police - February 2014

The second meeting of the London Churches Social Action Network focused on the issue of engaging with the police. The meeting included church leaders and others engaged in social action from various parts of London and representing a variety of church traditions.

The EXPERIENCE of engaging with the police was explored through The Reverend Jonathan Osbourne, Chaplain to the Metropolitan Police, and a senior police officer making a presentation on ways in which the police and the churches co-operate for the common good.

Those present shared their experiences of engaging with the police. Examples of different kids of collaboration and other related issues included:

Police chaplainces, Street Pastors + College Pastors, Borough Faith Liaison Officers

School Police Officers, PCSO/church Links, Engaging on the far-right, City Safe

Closure of youth services, the experience of the riots, Stop and Search tensions
Work on gangs (see February 2015 meeting of the Network)

A REFLECTION on the issues in light of scripture was led Reverend Malcom Torry of the Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy Team. This focused on questions to do with sin. We reflected on Genesis 3:6, Romans 3: 23, Psalm 125, Matthew 18: 15-17, Ezekiel 11: 19-21, and Revelation 21: 6-8. We addressed three questions in groups: 1. In what ways do police officers, PCSOs and civilian staff experience sin differently from the rest of us?; 2. How in practice do police officers and PSCOs understand the situations of people to whom they relate?; 3. In the light of these biblical passages, what might be appropriate pastoral responses to the particular situation of the Metropolitan Police? – what might be appropriate prophetic activity? – and what is the best relationship between prophecy and pastoral care? This led to one group developing a reflection entitled “Cover Up!” (Read here)

George Ansah, Anglican Borough Dean for Lambeth, led us in PRAYER

LEARNING from the discussion included attention to various models of church engagement with the police.

Suggested ACTION included making use of the following resources:

Developing police chaplaincies, Contact Jonathan.Osborne2@met.pnn.police.uk

Street Pastorshttp://streetpastors.co.uk/

City Safe - http://www.citizensuk.org/campaigns/citysafe-campaign/