Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser, has led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the 10th anniversary of Street Pastors in Scotland.
Across Scotland, Street Pastors provide weekend revellers with flip-flops, water bottles, lollipops and even basic first aid and are recognisable through their familiar blue uniforms.
Street Pastors started out in London with just 18 volunteers before growing into a network of 20,000 across four continents.
Murdo has previously taken time to go on the beat with Street Pastors in Perth and believes that the service has made a huge contribution to improving safety in the Fair City.
Perth Street Pastors patrol from 10pm to 3am on a Thursday and a Saturday. Murdo also hosted a reception for Street Pastor groups in Parliament to celebrate their tenth anniversary.
Extracts from Murdo’s speech below;
“…A couple of years back I joined the Street Pastors in Perth and witnessed first-hand their work on a Saturday night. Although, no stranger to patrolling the high street, albeit in the morning with a leaflet in hand, this experience was an altogether different one and left me in no doubt about the significant contribution these men and women make to the night-time economy.
…During our patrol, Street Pastors handed out flip-flops, dispensed water bottles, lollipops, and provided a friendly face and sympathetic shoulder to lean on. What was absent, was any effort to preach or convert non-believers. If revellers want to ask questions then they are more than happy to engage, but this is about providing a service rather than an opportunity to evangelize. You won’t see or hear Street Pastors judge those they help and their work is the very pinnacle of Christian compassion and is something the church must do more of.
…In Scotland, the Ascension Trust runs the initiative and Street pastors have been helping people for over ten years and now operate in 23 different locations. This is a great achievement and they are as much a part of the great Scottish night out as a kebab on the way home.
…From Elgin to Edinburgh, Street Pastors are on hand to help, and in my own region, Street Pastors patrol in Perth, Stirling, Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and Levenmouth. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of these teams for their dedication and hard work.”