Praise for PSNI on Presbyterian Moderator’s pastoral visit to Newry

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, has praised the work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on a visit to Ardmore Police Station in Newry. During his visit he met police officers on duty and was briefed by senior PSNI personnel.

Dr Kirkpatrick was on the final leg of his weeklong pastoral tour of one of PCI’s 19 regional presbyteries, the Presbytery of Newry, which takes in part of, but not all of, the PSNI’s Newry, Mourne and Down District.

Praise for PSNI on Presbyterian Moderator’s pastoral visit to Newry

The Moderator was welcomed by Chief Superintendent Muir Clark, South Area Commander and Superintendent Norman Haslett, District Commander of Newry Mourne and Down District, who also briefed the Moderator and his colleagues from the Presbytery.

Thanking the senior officers for their welcome, briefing and hospitality, Dr Kirkpatrick said, “First and foremost I wanted to come today with my colleagues to encourage those whose responsibility it is to keep everyone safe. It was also important for us to listen and to learn and to offer to pray. While today’s meeting was arranged before the attack on Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell in Omagh two weeks ago, together with the recent threat to family members of police officers, are terrible and unacceptable reminders of the dangers that still exist.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to those in the Police Service who are not only drawn from all sections of the community, but motivated by a strong sense of public duty to serve the whole community. My colleagues and I assured Chief Superintendent Clark and Superintendent Haslett of the prayers and the support of our churches locally and across Northern Ireland.”

Dr Kirkpatrick concluded by saying, “The PSNI is very much part of building the peace across society, not simply keeping it. We very much appreciated the briefing on the policing district, the challenges faced and the initiatives that are being undertaken. We were very impressed with the innovative ways the Neighbourhood Policing Team are working to normalise relationships in the community, especially harnessing new and fun technology to engage young people.”

The Moderator, was joined on the visit by his wife Joan, Rev David McCullagh, minister of Annalong Presbyterian Church, and newly appointed Clerk to the Newry Presbytery and Karen Jardine, PCI’s Public Affairs Officer.

South Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Muir Clark said: “We were delighted to welcome the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, along with other members of the church to Ardmore Police Station today.

“The group were introduced to officers who provided details on local policing within Newry, Mourne and Down and how our neighbourhood and local policing teams continue to work to make the community a safer place for the people who live and work here,” he said.

“Churches play an influential part in giving us a sense of community and over the years – and especially through some of the worst times – they have been a force for stability. It was our pleasure to welcome Dr Kirkpatrick and I wish him well for the future.”

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