Here are some of the questions that people ask about police chaplains. They will explain a little more about what we do and why.
Right from the early days of the police service, it was realised that much of police work, by its very nature, is stressful and can be de-humanising. In those early days local clergy did what they could to support staff and help keep a balanced perspective of life.
Working in today’s police service is increasingly challenging, but now there is a greater awareness of the effects of prolonged exposure to stressful situations. It is recognised that, more than ever, at times individuals may need some help to be able to keep things in perspective. It is recognised, too, that everybody is a complete person: body, mind and spirit. Police work can affect us, our physical and mental well-being, as well as, perhaps, our own deeply held standards and beliefs.
As part of this holistic care, chaplains work alongside the other supporting agencies who work within the force structures.
The basic role of the chaplain is to care: to care for the individuals within each force and to care for the organisation itself. Chaplains are in a unique position because they are not part of the structure, nor are they required to report in detail what they do. Their work is totally confidential.
- They drop in, on a regular basis, around shift change time or other times when staff are available. In this way, they become a familiar friend.
- They accompany staff out on duty as a resource and a way of getting alongside staff in the working environment. (All chaplains have suitable personal, protective equipment.)
- They are available for private conversations, either on or off duty in a suitable environment.
- They attend area and departmental meetings, staff training events and briefings as appropriate.
Most chaplains give their services on a voluntary basis so they may not always be immediately available.