Those who were to be leaders had already been chosen and it was six of those leaders who went out on the first patrol, to familiarise themselves with the night time economy scene in Bridlington.
We had already had discussions with the Humberside Police who warmly welcomed us into the “Keeping Bridlington Safer” family. Currently Bridlington is the place in East Yorkshire with the highest occurrence of violent crime and has consequently been provided with extra police cover on Friday and Saturday nights over the summer holiday season - so we were not surprised to see several police cars and vans patrolling the streets as well as officers on foot.
We chose a route which took us past The Spa just as the audience was leaving, then through the harbour onto the front where most of the night clubs are situated.
Two of us, having worked as Street Pastors in Wolverhampton, were not sure how it would compare, but they found that it was similar, though on a smaller scale. Other colleagues had been ‘observers’ with Scarborough Street Angels and found it alike in the two seaside towns.
The largest numbers of occurrences were when we were asked questions as to why we were doing it, which gave us the wonderful opportunity to tell people that it is because God loves them and that we want to be a blessing to Bridlington. Next came lots of hugs and thanks and congratulations for doing it. Then there were several positive personal conversations with revellers and door staff, to encourage them as we could.
We also picked up several bottles and glasses and disposed of them so that they could not be used as weapons. One night club manager kindly offered us the use of his facilities for a hot drink when we are out on patrol, something which we will most probably take up, though at the moment our plans is to have a break around midnight at our base in Church House before going out till 2 or 3am
We have 14 Street Angels, so are able to put a team of three or four out on a Saturday night. (We only ask people to commit to one patrol a month as, although it is very enjoyable, patrolling is a very intensive, high energy consuming activity). We hope that over the next few months we will get more people offering to train as Bridlington Street Angels so that we can also have a team going out on Friday nights.
As this first patrol was mainly a ‘recce’ patrol, we finished at 12.45am and returned to base to debrief and pray for the people we had met.
We are very excited at what the Lord is doing and is going to do in Bridlington, through Street Angels.