One of Gloucestershire’s first police chaplains, the Revd Pat Gifford, is up for a Gloucestershire Constabulary Impact Award. After nine years of volunteering as a police chaplain in her home area of central Gloucester, she received a long service award in June of this year.
Now her loyalty and support for her local officers, who cover Barton and Tredworth, and Gloucester City (roughly the same area as the City Deanery) is being formally recognised at the 2019 Constabulary and Police and Crime Commissioner Impact Awards, where she will be awarded the Citizens in Policing Award Runner Up. The award is in recognition of “excellent work and dedication to serve both our communities and colleagues.”
The origins of police chaplaincy in Gloucestershire came from a conversation between former Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd John Went and former Chief Constable Tim Brain. Pat was starting her curacy at this time and, having a passion for community working, was delighted when she was given the opportunity to become a volunteer chaplain. Having more recently come out of parish ministry she is now pleased to be able to give more time and flexibility to the role, especially at a time when the demands on officers are ever increasing.
“The main purpose of a police chaplain is to support officer and staff welfare. Gloucestershire Constabulary places great emphasis on the wellbeing of its officers and staff. Chaplains are able to contribute by provide a listening ear, impartiality and to offer confidentiality when required.
“Our Neighbourhood Policing Team are an important and valued part of our community. They know the area well, are approachable and committed to partnership working for the good of all residents and businesses. My own passion for partnership working supports this ethos and makes my role such a joy. “My prayer is that the ministry I am able to offer contributes to the wellbeing of officers and their families, enables them to do the job to the best of their ability and to go home at the end of a shift knowing they’ve done just that. We all need to feel loved and valued and to look out for one another, police officers are no different.”
“Police chaplaincy has had a significant impact on my ministry and I’m very much more aware now of the true meaning of living out the gospel in a community. Reflecting on the last nine years I can say that whilst the role of a chaplain is not to force God onto people it does provide opportunities to give God the glory for what we do. If someone says “I can talk to you because you’re a good listener and you’re always calm,” my response would be that that is a gift God has blessed me with.”
The award ceremony will take place on Friday 15 November.
If you are interested in finding out more about Police Chaplaincy, visit our vacancies pages to see current opportunities
Pictured from left: Chief Constable, Rod Hansen, the Revd Pat Gifford and Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl.