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Surrey Police volunteer chaplains recognised by Home Office

Date: 02 October 2013
Having triumphed in challenges ranging from supporting police in diffusing a situation with the traveller community to cooking food for officers, it’s hardly a surprise that Surrey Police’s team of volunteer chaplains has won a special award.

The team of 23 volunteer chaplains has received a special certificate of recognition from the Home Office for its dedication and support.

In 2012, chaplains provided almost 1,000 hours of unpaid, committed service to Surrey Police, supporting staff and providing a link to faith groups, helping to strengthen community partnerships.

The current Surrey Police Chaplaincy, which started in 2009, is a joint initiative between Surrey Police and the Diocese of Guildford.

Full-time Force Chaplain and Faith Coordinator Sarah Parrish said the team, which received the citation at Surrey Police’s chief’s commendation ceremony in September, richly deserved the recognition.

She said: “They have helped look for a missing child, stood alongside officers during parades, consulted with a minority community on sharing information around a number of burglaries, supported officers and staff through weddings, divorces, funerals and critical incidents and even solved a parking dilemma for one member of staff!

“The support and openness of Bishop Christopher and Tony Oakden from the diocese’s communities engagement team has been invaluable in the growth of the project which also includes chaplains representing the Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish faiths.

“Policing is very complex, challenging and at times stressful. Coupled with stressful situations faced by staff in their personal lives the availability of a chaplaincy programme was considered important by Surrey Police.

“Chaplains routinely offer their places of worship for training venues and assist in multi-faith training which has so far been delivered to new probationers, custody suite staff, front counter staff and family liaison officers.

“Station chaplains volunteer a minimum of four to eight hours a month providing emotional support, contacts for consultation and building bridges between faith and minority groups and the police.

“Ultimately, the chaplaincy provides a source of comfort and stability in a world which is often lacking both and the team was absolutely thrilled to receive the award from Chief Constable Lynne Owens of Surrey Police.”

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