The Sunday Telegraph had an interesting Sutton story in it yesterday. Instead of taking the Old Testament approach suggested in my title, a group of inter-denominational church-goers have got together to act as “Street Pastors” in Sutton High Street on a Friday and Saturday night.
Rather than preaching to them about the error of their ways as some may assume, they are there to ‘do what it says on the tin’ and offer pastoral assistance. Their bags contain flip-flops to help keep girls upright and thermal blankets for those hitting the chilly air whilst dressed up for a hot, sweaty club.
I have met a few of these Street Pastors in their day jobs and spoken to one pair whilst they were on duty – No, I wasn’t in need of flip-flops or assistance:) – and I am pleased that they are there. We don’t have enough police officers to cover the drinking holes in Sutton as well as the rest of the borough so initiatives like this should be encouraged. That is not to say that this should be to the exclusion of tackling those people whose night out turns to causing trouble and violence. Such a concentration of pubs and clubs at the top of Sutton may contain the situation in one area but it also makes it a no-go area for many.