Summer 2020 Newsletter
Some words from Charles
The last few months has caused many of us to re-think and re-shape the practice of Chaplaincy. The loss of ‘face to face’ contact has forced us to look at other approaches. Social media has been part of our armoury as has Skype, Zoom and a host of other remote access, but none can adequately replace the Chaplains role of “loitering with intent”. Internet platforms suffer several inherent problems; some of which were summarised in a recent report in The Times. These include:
However, they have served us at a difficult time and may still have something to offer as ‘lock-down’ is eased.
As we return to work we are not only conscious of the officers who have been struggling with work and home pressures, but also support staff who have been working from home and for whom returning to the office may be another stressor. Mental health issues may well be on the increase in the weeks and months to come. Chaplains working closely with Wellbeing teams will be a vital element in the recovery in our Forces.
On the PCUK front we have now achieved charitable status, and this will enable us to work more closely with the other Police charities as well as provide some relief against Corporation tax. We are also actively working with The University of Wales to develop a new approach to training. The first element will be a new and enhanced Induction course and further elements will give Chaplains the option of further study up to master’s level. More information will be provided in the coming months.
Thank you for your work over the past few months. Please be sure to take a break this summer and let us hope that ‘normal’ service will be resumed as soon as possible, even if normal has a new definition.
We are very excited to announce that we are currently working on a new website but we want to know what you want on YOUR website.
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A reminder that our main summer training conference has been postponed until 2021.
21st – 23rd June 2021
Bookings Open early 2021
COVID 19 ‘return to duty’!
A number of Chaplains have asked for guidance as to when and how they might begin to resume the chaplaincy duties in a more usual way.
As you will appreciate across the 43 forces there is a range of approaches to this and it is that local policy and guidance that is paramount. Some chaplains are also, rightfully, being cautious about entering Police premises due to their own circumstances.
Some Chaplaincies [and all volunteers] are excluded from Police buildings with forces encouraging people to continue to work from home where possible. In other places Lead Chaplains are allowed in buildings, other forces are allowing, or looking to allow from September all chaplains to enter buildings.
Where chaplains are returning to work they are doing so following a Risk Assessment having been undertaken by their force for their specific building [s] which does vary given space considerations. Chaplains have also had individual guidance about maintaining distance, wiping down IT and telephone equipment, not currently riding with personnel in vehicles etc.
Any Risk Assessment must be that carried out by the individual force and chaplains must not undertake their own procedures without such consultation and appropriate ‘in house’ guidance. Dorset & Devon & Cornwall have produced a useful Risk Assessment which is available here by way of example only. It is not for general use.
Chaplaincy Teams have maintained contact with each other via online meetings, in several cases more regularly and easier than in more normal times and this has been a positive side benefit from the situation. Chaplains have maintained contact with officers and staff by ensuring their contact information is readily available via posters, force intranet systems and also by direct email to stations, areas and force-wide. Lead Chaplains will be able to advise the practice in your force.
Creative ways of maintain contact with officers have include Chaplaincies providing a ‘thought for the week’ available to all staff; one team organising a ‘virtual pub quiz’ for their station and another delivering a box of cakes to the back doorstep and knocking on the window to ensure they were taken in for distribution!
| Funeral Guidance
The guidance in regard to Police funerals during the COVID pandemic has been revised and can be found here.
Given the changing nature of events it is not envisaged that further guidance will be offered with forces to adopt a common sense approach in line with public health advice and government legislation.
Team of the Year
Hampshire Constabulary chaplaincy team were recently awarded Citizens in Policing Team of the Year 2019 and were presented their certificates during a socially distanced award ceremony in August. Five of the chaplaincy team were able to attend the ceremony to receive their awards from the Chief Constable along with the Lead Chaplain Rev’d Dom Jones.
Growing Inter Faith Understanding and Cooperation
Inter Faith Week 2020 will take place from Sunday 8 - Sunday 15 November.
Inter Faith Week’s aims are to:
For further information see the interfaith website
| Memorial Services – COVID 19
Several forces are beginning to think ahead to holding, at an appropriate time, a Memorial Service for those in the force who have sadly died during this pandemic either amongst those currently serving or amongst those retired. This will still be some time away.
Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management
The Cabinet Office has published updated guidance relating to the use of face coverings. Included in the guidance is a list of new places where face coverings are currently recommended, but that will become mandatory from 8th August. Included in the list is ‘funeral directors’, and ‘places of worship’. Although neither of these categories specifically covers cemeteries and crematoria, we understand that the intention is that face coverings should be worn at funerals in enclosed spaces, eg cemetery and crematorium chapels. It has been acknowledged, however, that there may be times when face coverings are impractical, and Public Health England will be updating their Guidance for managing a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic to reflect this.
|From the world of Twitter|
Thoughts from the National Chaplain
For all of us the past few months have been unprecedented at every level both personally and professionally as the world has dealt with the global pandemic. It will be some considerable time before we all fully understand the implications not only for the present but also for the future of this crisis.
For Policing this alone has brought huge demands upon the Service with officers and staff called to engage with, educate and enforce public behaviour that no one could have imagined, and which has huge challenges and implications. Large scale public protests in a number of cities, the rise in illegal raves, a changing pattern of criminal behaviour etc etc have further stretched resources. I know that many of you have felt frustrated that at such a time of heightened demand it has not been possible to be about your chaplaincy roles supporting officers and staff in our more usual way. However, the creative ways in which chaplains have engaged across the country has been excellent and the feedback has been very positive so thank you for your efforts. Speaking about the benefits of Police Chaplaincy and extolling its virtues at the ‘top of the shop’ only carries weight when it is matched by what goes on day by day at the local level where it is most relevant – thank you.
Despite the circumstances of these past months it is good to try and take some positives. For me that has meant considerably less real travel even if my ‘astral’ travel has increased. It is nice to finish meetings and be home with a ‘click’ rather than a four-hour drive or train journey. Another benefit has been the invitation and ability to join in a good number of Chaplaincy team meetings in forces. If you are holding a ‘virtual’ meeting, then do please send an invite and I will join you where possible to provide updates and take Q & A’s.
By way of one such update - For the past few years, I have been involved in helping bring to fruition the proposed National Police Memorial to be sited at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Ground has now ‘been broken’ on this and it is anticipated that a Dedication Service will be held in Spring 2021.
Suicide Bereavement Support
Most of us are excited when we get a new job. It’s something we applied for and got, and are excited about what the future may hold for us in our new position. But other jobs are thrust upon us because of experiences we go through and recognise that what we have learned through our experience is something that might prove valuable to others who have to cross that un-wanted bridge as well.
One morning in October three years ago I awoke to the news that my twin brother (he was actually my nephew with a 7 month age gap) had shot himself in the head and taken his own life. I went from total denial to devastating shocked hysteria. I was inconsolable.
My whole life has been one long list of tragedies. From having my Aunt killed by a fire truck, while crossing the road after posting our Christmas cards to losing my mum to cancer at age 14. Then, losing the first girl I ever kissed to murder. Losing both of my brothers within a week of each other to similar disease. You might say I am well acquainted with grief and how to manage it, but this was different. This was my twin. My best friend. The one I grew up side-by-side with and who was (in my opinion) the strong one of us two! He was better looking (always stealing my girlfriends), stronger, more intelligent, better in everyway in my opinion. It was impossible that ‘he’ would take his own life! Yes, the reasons were there. His first wife had an affair with the best man in his wedding. Because they sought reconciliation and went for counselling, he held out hope it might all work out. That is until she had an affair with the counsellor and went on to marry him. When his second wife cleared out his house after he went to work one morning and left him with one recliner chair and bed, he had reached a new low. He was signed off work repeatedly for depression resulting in his losing that job. The final straw for him, and unbeknownst to us until later, he was diagnosed with diabetes. In his mind he had lost all hope.
Those of us bereaved by suicide all share a different story, but the loss, bewilderment and devastation is beyond repair. I liken it to a head-on collision between love and hate. We loath and hate the person who has murdered our loved one! … except that the murderer IS our loved one. Our emotions have no place to go, so we must bear them and hold on to them for the rest of our lives.
On a daily basis I speak to people like me and try to help them find places for their emotions. I pull them out of holes emotionally. Talk them back from the edge physically. And, sometimes embrace them and hold them as they weep and express their rollercoaster of emotions.
The faces of suicide will always make me cry. The stunningly gorgeous face of a beautiful teenage girl who couldn’t see life beyond a relationship break-up. The professional face of a banker who couldn’t manage the hatred from people who felt that he deserved less than he earned. To the kind and loving face of a mother who felt they had somehow failed at life’s greatest duty of parenthood. And, we grieve… we all grieve deeply.
Success in suicide bereavement counselling isn’t measured by a moving on and having an emotionally pain-free life. It’s measured by making it through another day. Seeing a little light. Cracking a little smile. Finding a little hope. Any one of those from anyone I speak to and I am able to sleep peacefully one more night.
My friend Jess and her son, Ignacio who took his own life in April 2020.
John R Green – Senior Mentor, Suicide Bereavement Support UK & Christians Bereaved by Suicide UK. Also serving as Police Chaplain with both Thames Valley Police (Wantage) & Hertfordshire Constabulary (Broxbourne) – 29 July 2020
National Police Memorial Day 2020 - 15.00hrs Sunday September 27th
As you are aware the planned National Police Memorial Day that was due to be held at Lincoln Cathedral this year has sadly been cancelled and we have had to change the way we remember our fallen colleagues this year due to the pandemic.
The pre-recorded event will be released at 1500hrs on 27th September. Where it is possible to maintain appropriate social distancing and follow ‘in house’ guidelines we hope that some forces may decide to gather a group together to take part, albeit virtually, in the event. It could also be an appropriate occasion to remember those who have died in service during the crisis at a local level. The NPMD ‘clip’ will end with the National Anthem so it would probably flow better to do this beforehand. If 15.00hrs on Sunday 27th does not work well then the clip will be available for use at any time thereafter so an event on the Monday or that week may work better.
This link - Event Leaflet - tells you all about how you can be involved on the day and in the days leading up to 27th September 2020.
It is the intention that National Police Memorial Day 2021 will take place in Lincoln over the weekend of 25th/26th September
‘Professionalising Police Chaplaincy’ - Continuing Professional Development
Work continues with the University of Wales to develop an integrated pathway of continuing professional development for Police Chaplains. A full brochure containing the specific details will made available in due course. The intention is to offer a course of applied reflection and study that builds on an initial Induction course leading to the award of a Post Graduate Certificate, Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree.
The Police Chaplaincy Induction Course is being revised together with the way this is delivered with a view to increasing the distance learning components. It is anticipated that all new chaplain will undertake this course as a ‘stand-alone’ basic induction course. For those who wish to build upon this then further critical reflection on their day to day chaplaincy and a relevant written submission will accrue 40 learning points. Completion of a further 20-point module will be recognised by a Post Graduate Certificate. Continued progression is also then optional.
For those who have already completed the Induction course we are developing an alternative entry route that recognises previous studies and qualifications by way of accreditation for prior learning.
Alongside this project work is also underway with the College of Policing developing role profiles for Lead and Volunteer Chaplains.
| Police Charities UK
Police Charities UK is an umbrella group that seeks to increase cooperation across the various Police Charities and support one another in our efforts to serve officers and staff.
A website is maintained that gives details of the various charities and through a ‘searchable’ table slows you to see what each charity does, its sphere of operation and those eligible for support. It is a useful resource for Chaplains to ‘signpost’ individuals to when they present with particular needs.
Now that we have received charitable status it is anticipated that Police Chaplaincy UK will become a member of this group.
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