Street Pastors, in full cooperation and partnership with Police and Local Authorities, are trained volunteers who patrol the streets at peak weekend hours (10pm-3.30am). Their presence itself has a moderating and calming effect on some behaviour. Street Pastors interact with members of the public and build rapport, listen and spend time with those in a distressed state, help those who are vulnerable, offer first-aid assistance, reunite lone girls with their friends, help people find transport home, and even provide flip-flops for some who have lost their shoes, or are walking home barefooted. (Amazingly these have become prized items!)
We try to educate people to the many different support agencies within the town by sign-posting people to essential services. For example: services that support rough sleepers, youth and adult counselling, drug and alcohol advice, crisis pregnancy and post abortion counselling, as well as sign-posting people to local transport services within the town centre: bus/ rail stations, taxi ranks for those not familiar with Reading Town Centre. etc.
Street Pastors are not there to deal with serious assaults or threatening situations, but by dealing with the low-level incidents they can help prevent escalation and free up police officers’ time to deal with the more serious incidents.
Reading Street Pastors is actively supported by:
• Reading Churches (Reading Christian Network, Churches Together in Reading)
• Thames Valley Police (Town Centre Specialist team)
• PubWatch and DoorWatch (Bar Landlords and security door staff)
• Reading Borough Council
• Safer Reading Campaign (Reading Borough Council)
• Impact Reading (Network of Christian social action organisations in Reading)