DURING a recent evening patrol, Tunbridge Wells Street Pastors were joined by a special observer –Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark.
Street Pastors have been active in Tunbridge Wells for the last 14 years with the aim of keeping people safe while on a night out.
The teams go out three times a month between 10pm and 1.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Mr Clark joined them on January 26 at their base, at Christ Church (on the High Street) to help gather supplies and log onto the CCTV, which they do before any patrol, before setting off at 10.30pm.
During their patrol the team often gives out lollies, water and flip flops, but they also go out armed with foil blankets, a first aid kit and dustpan and brush, to ensure the safety of residents and visitors on the streets and to clear up any broken glass or rubbish they find on their travels. In 2023, they disposed of 199 bottles, 181 glasses, 120 cans and 18 lots of broken glass.
The team of street pastors took Mr Clark on their ‘normal’ route around town which included the High Street, The Pantiles, round past the Forum, into the Sstation (just as a train had come in) and then up into the centre of town towards the Manor House and Wetherspoons.
It was a quiet night to start off with, but as the night went on and as the clock passed midnight, they found many travelling from pubs to the clubs as well as some just starting their nights out. Mr Clark and the Street Pastors ended their patrol back at their base at 1.30am.
Mr Clark told the Times: “I enjoyed joining the Street Pastors immensely. It was wonderful to witness first-hand the great work that they do.
“They are a familiar and reassuring presence to many, and we owe them a big debt of gratitude for this voluntary and unpaid service in looking after people using our town centre.
“I am looking forward to joining them later in the year to see how a Saturday night compares.”