Bishop Philip Visits Hampshire & Isle of Wight Police Chaplaincy

Bishop Philip Visits Hampshire & Isle of Wight Police Chaplaincy

On 21 February, the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary (HIOWC) Chaplaincy was delighted to welcome the Bishop of Winchester who wished to recognise those involved in such vital pastoral work.

The Bishop was hosted by Revd Dom Jones, the Lead Chaplain, and Revd Liz Williams, the Deputy Lead Chaplain, and introduced to Sam de Reya, the Deputy Chief Constable, and Donna Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner. He also received a tour of the Force Control Room and met members of the multi-faith Chaplaincy team, the Christian Police Association and the Association of Muslim Police. Chaplains, in any setting, and of any denomination, represent faith and spirituality in the world outside church, and are a integral part of the HIOWC team.

HIOWC Chaplaincy was launched in June 2017, with the employment of the full time Lead Chaplain Revd Dom Jones. The aim of the Chaplaincy is to care for and serve the officers, staff and volunteers, as well as the families, of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Police, of all faiths and none.

There are currently 23 volunteer chaplains from a range of different faith groups and denominations. Volunteer chaplains are people of faith who have got a passion for their local community that extends to their local police force, and who, supported by their faith leader, give up a minimum of two hours a week to support the officers and staff. The basic role of the volunteer chaplain is to provide safe, independent, confidential support and understanding to all, whether or not the individual has a defined religious belief.

Police chaplains are aware of the demanding nature of police work, of its distress, danger and trauma, and the potential de-humanisation of this. They understand everyone is a complete person – body mind and spirit – and offer care in this holistic way. Police chaplains also care for and support the organisation itself, including acting as “critical friends” within the decision making processes.

Rowan Williams said that, ‘Chaplaincy is the public face of faith in a diverse and plural society.’ And indeed Police Chaplaincy is not quite like any other ministry. It’s not highbrow ministry: long hours spent in a vicar’s study in preparation for preaching. It is sitting in a police car, racing around Southampton, and it’s visiting officers on their eighth hour of guarding a murder scene. It is not about translating Hebrew or Greek from ancient texts, but about translating scripture into something immediate, something that matters to the officer who is delivering the news that yet another teenager has been killed through a road accident. Police Chaplaincy is walking into a police station and meeting another person, wherever they are in life. To show up, and shut up, and be present. To move through the human desire to say something in an attempt to make a situation okay, and just be. To be a reflection of God-in-flesh to those who are suffering or in need.

Revd Dom Jones, Lead Police Chaplain

There are currently 500 chaplains serving in police forces throughout the UK, and 25 paid Lead Chaplains in Force. Police Chaplaincy UK is the professional body for police chaplains and there is a full time National Police Chaplain, who helps shape Chaplaincy in UK Policing.

We pray for police chaplains across the UK; that they can offer spiritual comfort to the officers, staff and volunteers of police forces, and that they too can find peace through God’s love, just as they seek to share that peace with others.

New volunteer chaplains are always welcome to support the HIOWC, both lay and ordained. You are encouraged to get in touch with Revd Dom Jones to discuss next steps.