Members of the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) took to the streets with the town’s Street Angels on a cold Saturday night, to learn more about their role.
The volunteer group patrol the streets at the weekend between 10pm and 3am, to provide unconditional, non-judgemental support, and to offer help to those who find themselves vulnerable to crime or distress after a night on the town.
OPCC team members Katie Beaumont and Sam Denness saw first-hand the work of the Bedford Street Angels when they joined them on patrol.
Sam said: “To be honest, prior to spending time with the Street Angels, we had little idea of exactly how far they’re prepared to go to help all those who go out in Bedford.
“We spent just one night with this fantastic group of people who are there week-in, week-out, and were amazed at exactly what they do. We witnessed them helping various young men and women who were so intoxicated they had no idea how they were going to get home. The Angels provided water, blankets, cups of coffee, supplied flip flops to those who had lost shoes or just couldn’t walk in them anymore, put people in taxis, and phoned friends and family to help ensure their safety.”
Bedford Street Angels originated after the tragic death of a young man, Robert Gill, who died in December 2007. His adoptive parents approached the churches of the town to explore the possibility of forming a Street Angels project to support the vulnerable that access the night-time economy and to prevent a similar tragedy happening to others. Bedford Street Angels volunteer throughout the year supporting extra events, working in partnership with various organisations including Bedfordshire Police.
Sam added: “The Angels work in helping so many people in the town, as we saw on that busy night we were with them. Our night in the company of these fantastic people who give up their own time every week was both humbling and inspiring, and an experience that will stay with both Katie and I for a very long time.” Kathryn Holloway was elected Bedfordshire’s Police Crime Commissioner on May 5, 2016. Visit www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk