Feb 2 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
LATE-NIGHT Christian volunteers have committed to helping people in need on the streets in Harrow.
The first group of Street Pastors were presented at Harrow Civic Centre on Thursday, January 26, and will soon be patrolling the streets on Friday and Saturday nights, giving out bottles of water and offering assistance to people who have been drinking or who run into trouble in a bid to reduce crime and make people feel safer.
There will be the opportunity for prayer at a base on the streets.
Pastor Toks Odofin, of Cornerstone Church in Wealdstone, chairman of Harrow Street Pastors, said: "We are there to be non-judgemental and to be a friend.
"We are not there like the police to control people but to help them and we will build up a rapport with them and eventually people will feel safer being out at night as they know we are there.
Mr Odofin and the other dignitaries presented the first group of pastors six women and four men of all ages for Harrow, who will start later this month.
An audience of 140 enjoyed hymns, prayers and talks hosted by Mr Odofin, Harrow Borough Commander Dal Babu, the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Mrinal Choudhury, chief executive of Street Pastors, Les Issacs, and Harminder Rana, a former coordinator of the scheme.
Mr Odofin added: "Last night was a great success, and there was a great turnout and was wonderful to see all the different aspects of the community come together to do something positive."
Harrow Council and Harrow Met Police have offered assistance and the police have donated money to the scheme. The organisers will be applying for grants to keep it going.
Harrow is the 30th London borough to have the scheme and to qualify, volunteers need to be a member of a Harrow church and have a reference from the church leader.
Councillor Phillip ODell, portfolio holder for environment and community safety on Harrow Council, said: "Street pastors are a welcome new addition to the network of residents, professionals and partner organisations who work tirelessly to keep Harrow safe. By working with the council and police, street pastors have helped reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in many areas."